Posts tagged ‘the grind’

June 15, 2013

everything but the girl

a number of my eldest son’s friends are turning 5 lately and he, overhearing conversations about kindergarten, observing my friends emote at the significance, and intuiting the maturation around him, is well aware that this birthday is not like the others; that it is distinctive, that milestones abound.

not surprisingly, he has begun to look at his own (one day) 5th birthday with idealized regard and now reconciles everything that he covets but that is out of reach- special events, activities, freedoms, repeat opportunities to go on excursions via plane- by saying, albeit unconvincingly, “maybe when i’m five”.

despite the tentative tone, it works and he has somehow been able to manage his lofty expectations with this simple reminder, however inaccurate. unfortunately (for me) his regular wantedness, his daily basis neediness, continues to know no bounds and he starts many common sentences with a demanding: “i want”.

i was washing dishes this morning, early, already feeling desperate after a week of him sick and our life therefore tabled, multiple days restricted to the four walls of our home, when he started in at me: all the things he wanted, how he wanted them done. his father is away, mourning  the life of a relative, and, therefore, it doesn’t matter that it’s saturday. it’s just me here. here with them; their requests.

i didn’t reply, which had no impact on his behaviour but assisted me to feel somewhat grounded, empowered even- such a subtle act of resistance.

not one to back down, he persisted. baby, teething, made his gentle way in to the kitchen from where he played near by. “mum mum mum” he muttered, approaching where i stood, signaling he too had a desire for me to provide any number of things: milk, attention, comfort, entertainment, reprieve.

i found myself looking up at the ceiling and was confronted by it’s unglamourous, entry level appearance- not helpful- and thought briefly of shaking the clawing paws off my ankles, brushing past the talking machine, and making my exit: down the stairs and out the front door, away from all that is expected of me, complete with my yet untouched morning coffee.

instead, i found myself doing what i recall having witnessed my mother do, and with closed eyes, pursed lips, and taught breath, i hush-growled to the white roof: “lord, give me strength”- more of a threat then a prayer.

when i opened my eyes, i hadn’t yet found the courage to turn to my eldest but i bent to retrieve baby, moaning now, and was impressed with just how quickly he settled once stationed on my left hip. so simple, so primary, so generous in his acceptance of what is.

i heard myself think, and then say “we can’t have everything that we want”, mostly in effort to remind myself of the same, it would seem.

“but, look at me momma! i want you to look at me! watch me momma! do you see me?”. it seemed as though my statement was mistaken for participation and he was encouraged…

“do you see me?”, i replied in all seriousness, turning to him, finally. he looked confused. “do you?” i implored.

“of course i do mamma, don’t be silly”, he offered, confused.

the question was lost on him.

he can’t see my master’s degree, begging for completion. he doesn’t see my muscles, screaming for a run. he doesn’t see my brain, dehydrated, thirsty for adult company, conversation, camaraderie. he doesn’t see my skin, itchy for lack of sleep. he doesn’t know the sacrifices that i make and what goes undone on my own list of wants so that he and his brother, both beyond deserving, can have a life complete. he sees his mother, and she’s pretty great, but he just doesn’t see me.

maybe when he’s five?

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November 30, 2012

the arrivals gate

it’s hard to talk about so writing about it is pretty scary- very concrete- as it officially means i am admitting to myself and then to the public (cosmically, if nothing else) that i don’t always enjoy mothering, especially, it would appear, from the trenches of the first few months.

i know damn well that i should be taking every opportunity to enjoy our new baby, given that he is darling, precious, and our last- soon to outgrow us all as well as his need or desire for my company- but… i don’t seem to really be capable of that today. most days, yes, i enjoy him immensely and now that i have got it all pretty sorted, this new life with two kids, i mean, the happiness quotient is rising with regards to all things parent. this morning though, i feel busy and harassed being responsible for the two of them and i find myself mid bitter identity crisis regarding where i am in all of this. i think it’s fair to say that on this dreary day, the chaos and ever present neediness x 2 is detracting from whatever bliss i should be feeling.

i remember this with my first son, as well. i didn’t find parenting hard, or meeting his needs to be a skill beyond me, but i found the transition to being a parent, exclusively, in those early months challenging. there wasn’t a whole lot of room for me to be anything else but what he needed me to be and despite my love for him and my pride in him and the delight i found in him, i had days where i felt suffocated and would find myself busying about at times, trying, somehow, to feel as though i accomplished something tangible, or that my day had meaning, in a way that could be measured. other times, the often sound of his crying was just so overwhelming that i would purposely engage in other tasks that i decided to define as important and pressing, just to justify diverting my attention and energy elsewhere which would give me reprieve from him, like vacuuming instead of continuing the constant effort of  trying to make him stop.

on those days when out was what i needed, part of me felt guilty but the rest of me felt good- immersed in an activity i could effectively manage-and i felt liberated, because i couldn’t hear him for a while and i could trick myself into feeling alone, and maybe even free. it was a falsehood, of course, as you can only vacuum for so long, and too soon i found myself called to face the enormous challenge of having a dependent and, as a direct result of this reality, not having much choice making room for myself. but, even the mini break did me good and benefited him in the end as well, as i returned fresh and maybe even kinda renewed. ready, anyhow, to keep on giving.

i find myself there again every once in a while, where i feel irrationally annoyed that my baby can’t somehow meet all of his own needs and leave me out of it in the meantime. compounding this is my three year old who has even more wants of me, and his requests are more creative, refined, complex and exhausting by virtue of same. they aren’t unreasonable demands and it’s not that i don’t have time or energy for them, it’s that i simply don’t always want to meet their (seemingly insatiable) requests of my body, mind, and spirit.

it’s at moments like this when i can’t help but wonder if maybe my personhood gets in the way of my motherhood. maybe i spent too much time in university and that’s why i always crave diversity, stimulation, and challenging dialogue. maybe i was single for too long after i graduated, had too much fun doing whatever i wanted on my own terms, and got selfish and now find it hard to share. or, maybe i was partnered for too long before kids, got spoilt and now miss my spouse as well as having a conversation with him that doesn’t revolve around the to do list. maybe it’s because i love my work and lose some sense of self-importance when i’m not busy being fabulous at it. maybe i am a product of a generation of selfish assholes (it’s a popular theory) and therefore resist selflessness. maybe it’s a combination of all these things resulting in too strong of a self concept that means i can’t be subservient to a baby without missing who i was. or, perhaps, it is completely normal for women to experience some internal conflict, resistance, and discomfort as we redefine ourselves (over, and over again) for the benefit of our family.

whatever. point is, it’s not the kind of day where it would be in anybody’s best interest to try and befriend me at the playground. but, i’ll be back at my joy. soon. arriving there may be more of a circular then linear process but i believe that i will make progress. i may be present and immersed and whole in my role one day and then i may spiral again, to the angst among unreconciled versions of self that can’t find room to think, let alone exist.  actually, it’s more then believing in better. i know i will get back to happy.  i have history on my side this time and i know that this is fleeting and that it all transforms and develops into good, good stuff. i walked this road before and we all survived.

as for now, i will practice what motherhood has taught me better than any other experience: i will try to let go of preconceived notions; i will try to shake off unrealistic expectations; and i will try to be sensitive, gentle, and generous with those who need it the most, myself included.

October 8, 2012

don’t know how to back down

“the precarious balance we maintain with great effort relies upon highly complicated and unregulated variables remaining impossibly stable. these variables, dangling mid juggle, must hold some form of consistency or relative predictability, so that we can plan and budget our so stretched time to ensure all goals are (almost) achieved. it all kinda works, albeit a sprint from eyes opening, until it doesn’t. traffic on the bridge? i’m eff’d. emergency case at the end of the day? i’m eff’d. vacuum not working? i’m eff’d. running out of coffee filters? we.are.all.eff’d.

when you are a mother who is also employed (and works too much), there isn’t much room for error. you plan, you prep, you hussle, you find time where none exists, and you fail. well, you feel like you fail (and fail, and fail, and fail)- in every aspect of your life. so when your son gets sick and needs you full time, it all falls down. hard.”

good morning, dear reader.

because it is a holiday long weekend and i can, i was just browsing through some unfinished drafts whilst texting my friends some grotesque photos of my baby belly (or, alternatively, the belly of the largest woman in the world) and came across this stressed little blurb i barfed out sometime last winter when we were in the depths of sick toddler hell for 6, that’s right, 6 weeks, whilst simultaneously trying to make it all work and not get fired.

well, guess what? currently, it is all working. why? cause i’m not.

dude, i know it’s a bold admission but seriously, we got it locked down right now and it all has to do with me being home more.

last week, i sent my son to preschool with, in addition to cute cut up fruit, etc., some home-made baking for his snack. i made said baking using beautiful ceramic mixing bowls gifted to us at our wedding (this is relevant b/c i had a pseudo hallucination / nostalgic traditional moment when creating said yumminess where i felt like i was getting something right, and the bowls had something to do with it. don’t read into it too much, i can’t stand behind the politics). my family is eating home cooked meals i have prepared as per menu plan loaded with healthy nutrients. of significant importance, i even kinda looked decent once or twice recently whilst making new mom friends at the playground. my house is in order, my son is rested and soooo happy, my husband is not having to carry the weight of his mammoth wife’s inadequacies (pregnant and tired and puking and working 6 days a week does not a functional partner make) and actually looks relaxed these days, and i am happily busying myself with day to day autumn splendor whilst organizing every aspect of our lives that has been neglected over the last 9 mos.

it’s not everything, god knows it isn’t for me, but there is something, maybe a lot, to be said for simplifying. i’m gonna go with it for now. when i lose my shit in a few months and think the walls are closing in, remind me of how thankful i feel about this level of non complication today. okay? deal.

p.s.- to keep a familiar level of vain neurosis in stock i am, however, avoiding befriending the incredibly beautiful, nice, and interesting mother of 4, soon to be 5, who is always put together, makes pregnancy look stylish (sexy, even), and homeschools. my rationale is that i have enough friends but the truth is, i don’t need her in my life, she is too lovely for words, the complete package, and i have enough reasons to feel sub-par. don’t tell anyone.

July 9, 2012

everyone hates advice

i know you get oppositional when people give you advice. it’s okay, we all do, to some degree. this said, this is not the time to get in a dither. there have been many hard days lately and, because i am your friend, and because i have opinions, and because you like that about me, i say it’s time for a pep talk. so, here goes. it’s me telling you what to do time. kay? kay.

it’s simple, really. remember the basics dear friend. no matter what developmental stage, the basics have value, i know you know this. scale back, breathe deep, indulge in your love for your child, show your love in all ways you interact with your child, practice gratitude, respond to your child with kindness and compassion as often as you are able and, when you are tired and impatient, tread lightly, be gentle, find your hide away reserve of grace and try not to behave in a manner you can’t be proud of later.

remember that having authority in your dynamic and employing consistency, discipline, and/or positive reinforcement is practicing love and don’t let those damn ninny’s scare you from this practice. don’t be afraid of your child’s resistance or great demonstrations of opposition, you are inately powerful too. be careful to not squash their effort to assert themselves either, we are all frail deep down, after all. just stay calm and firm. highlight the calm piece. when you fail, because you will, don’t be angry at yourself for long, it’s not productive.

if you need to heal and reconnect, give kisses and hugs, lots of them. dance it out together. go for a long walk together, maybe in silence. read together. sleep together. be outside more then normal, get wet in water together, collect treasures, be still without expectation for a bit.

then, if it’s not working, and you know it isn’t, change it. stop whining. if you need help, get help. just don’t be stuck. children grow and we have a responsibility to grow with them.

now suck it up, bear down, and get on with it. become who you need to become. persevere. own it. you are the mother, you got this.

March 21, 2012

and now for something completely different

news flash: this work shit is for suckers. and, in response to the bullshit sprint we personally perform what seems like 7 days a week, i am seriously contemplating a crazy drama fuelled self-sabotaging act like arriving at work, late, in my fleece pj pants complete with stretched out shelf bra tank top and oversized cardigan (clashing, of course).

i will have showered, shaved, moisturized, and done my hair. i will be sporting lip gloss and i will smell good. otherwise, i will be unpredictable. i may be volatile.

my full to the brim coffee ( in a homemade ceramic mug, no lid) and ‘i dare you to challenge me’ attitude will be ready for the first person who so much as notices my tardiness or non adherence to dress code. and then, i walk. i know i  have grounds for working mother stress reaction syndrome and i will hapily go on extended sick leave. you’ve been warned.

i mean it. eff you hussle, you suck us dry.

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