0

If I Die Tomorrow

If I die tomorrow, just know that you were loved

From the very first moment I saw you

From the very first moment we touched

If I die tomorrow, please remember that today

You made my life completely real

You made it worth the wait.

I have no plans of going

I have every intention to stay

But you will learn as time goes on

Life works in its own way

So if I die tomorrow, I need to know for sure

That you will all be fine with things

If I am there no more

 

Please look after Daddy

He’ll need to have you there

Teach him the difference between dresses and skirts

And be patient when he brushes your hair

To my daughters – become strong, confident women

Have manners and empathy; be kind

Whatever you choose to become in your life

Just know that I really don’t mind

And to my wonderful son as well

Have empathy and integrity too

And, as with your sisters, choose your own path

Decide what it is you want to do

Because all that I wish in the depth of my heart

All that I want from you

Is happiness, love and a nice big fat smile

And a family who is there with you too

Of course, I have no plans to be gone tomorrow

I plan on seeing you grow

I will watch you get bigger and learn from the world

As you realise the things that you know

And when you are old and grey I’ll still be here

Naggingly proud as a plum

I’ll embarrass you lots and huggle you more

And be right there, front and centre, Number 1

And you’ll be like, “gawd Mum just leave us, geez!

We can’t have our fun, let us be!”

And happily I’ll retreat with a smile

Knowing deep down YOU STILL LOVE ME!

Whether doctor or lawyer or parent-of-three,

I honestly don’t really care

As long as you live long and happy

As long as you know we are here.

But, if I die tomorrow.

Just know that for every day

You were loved more than ever,

Hugged more than ever,

And I will never change a thing

Not one little thing

That makes you, my children, that way.12495155_10154044942357292_7050557721886405161_n

 

 

 

 

2

A Blue Bath Kind Of Day

Last night, my husband worked a late shift. By the time he got home, two kids were asleep in bed and the third? Well, she was jumping all over me, being a general go-the-heck-to-bed-pain-in-my-bum. Nothing new there.

Husband came inside and asked me how my afternoon had gone.

“Well!” I told him. “Since you asked …”

I instantly saw the regret in his eyes, the panicked, dammit why did I ask ….

Because you care, husband. Because you care.

I immediately delved into a long novel, barely coming up for air between sentences, about how the kids had been a constant symphony of whinging all afternoon and nothing was right and I was entirely at fault through their eyes the entire afternoon and the crying and the yelling and somehow they all managed to injure themselves all at the same goddamn time and I couldn’t possibly comfort all three at once and that was my fault too and I hadn’t had a moment’s peace all afternoon not even when I went to the loo because they all needed something NOW and I couldn’t keep up and WHY DID WE HAVE CHILDREN and thank god at least two of them are asleep now but this one still awake holy shit don’t get me started on her and what she did while unsupervised in the bathroom for five minutes and the tantrum she threw on the way home oh my lordy I filmed it because otherwise you wouldn’t have believed how epic it was …

And then I stopped.

And I heard myself.

And I said, “Wait. Cancel that. Ignore what I just said. Start again. Ask me how my afternoon was ..”

“O … kay …” my dear husband replied, thinking right-o, I’ll play along … 

“How was your afternoon, dear?”

“It was good. Not great, but hey, it’s Friday and the kids are tired. Once the kids got over their initial synchronised injuries and subsequent tears, all three settled onto respective electronic devices while I pottered around doing housework and like. There were a few squabbles over the iPad but they actually sorted them out together, with minimal injury. I cooked tea and when I called the kids over to the table, all three came over without hesitation or argument which is rare! And we ate our tea together, and talked about what made us laugh that day.

After dinner was cleared, I said it was bath time and BoyChild said he felt like it was a blue bath kind of day. I thought, you know what – it is. So I grabbed the blue food colouring and the kids played in the bath for long enough for the water to start to go cold. After wrapping the kids like babies in their towels then tickle-monster-ing them into their pjs, we read stories on the couch.

At bed time the older two went without a fuss, and were asleep before too long.

All in all, not a bad afternoon, all things considered”.

And there it is.

A slight change in the way you think can have a massive impact on so many things. It’s human nature to sway towards the negative in a situation, and it certainly wasn’t a fantastic afternoon, but it wasn’t entirely disastrous either.

I need to take a leaf out of my own book sometimes – perhaps sit down and ask myself, what made me laugh today? What was something that made me smile?

Because there will always be something, even if you have to look a little harder to find it some days.

And then, I showed husband the video of the Epic Tantrum of ’16, because let’s be honest, it needed the air time.

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1

The Mum Who …

Yesterday, I was The Mum Who had to work at 7am.

I was The Mum Who didn’t push her son to dress up for costume day, because he said he didn’t want to do it.

I was The Mum Who didn’t read the email properly because I was too busy with other things.

I was The Mum Who didn’t realise it was a shared lunch at school.

Yesterday I was The Mum Whose son was the only child not in costume, and the only child who didn’t contribute to the lunch.

I was The Mum Who sat in my car in my lunch break and cried, because I never wanted to be The Mum Who was too busy to give that time to her kids.

Being a working Mum is bloody hard work. Even if I had realised there was a shared lunch, I wouldn’t have put up an amazing platter of themed food like the other mums. Because I didn’t have time. Even if I had fought my son to wear his costume, it still would not have been the detailed costume other kids wore.

I work hard doing two jobs and juggling three kids. Somedays I really feel like I do my best. Yesterday I was not The Mum Who did her best.

I was The Mum Who went to school at pick up time, and apologised profusely to the teacher, I was The Mum Who said it was all my fault, please don’t let the blame fall in any way on my son. I was The Mum Who had someone say to me, “Oh, your son was the one not in a costume?”. I was The Mum Who thought, for a brief moment, that maybe my kids deserve a Better Mum.

And then the bell rang, and my son ran out of the class, and hugged me, and said “I was in a cool costume Mum – my t’shirt is blue so my teacher says I’m a Blueberry!”. My son was completely unaffected by his day. He loved all the costumes, and was perfectly happy not being in one.

I was many things yesterday, but as we left the school grounds I was That Mum Who laughs with her kids. Holding hands with BoyChild while the girls ran under our arms and in circles, all three kids in hysterical laughter. I was The Mum Who works hard so my I can spend afternoons with my crazy kids. I was The Mum Who listened to their stories from school, The Mum Who joked and played with them.

The Mum Who kissed them goodnight, tucked them into bed, told them I love them, and got big, sloppy, gross kisses back from them.

Life is tough. We make mistakes. It’s not always what we hope it will be. After days like yesterday, it’s good to remind ourselves not what we aren’t, but what we are. The Mum Who will do anything for her kids. The Mum Who works hard so her kids don’t have to.

The Mum Who does ok.

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

Temporary Tattoos – Not So Much

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This weekend, Princess acquired a considerable amount of temporary tattoos. As in, heaps. A lot. And, she announced to me she wanted to be a Tattoo Queen.

Now, I don’t have any tattoos. I’m not against them, I just don’t have any. Husband has one, a black panther on his arm that he got when he was in his teens. He regrets it, for what it’s worth – but the kids find it hilarious. Probably not what he was going for when he got it, but there you go.

So, I’m not sure why Princess decided she wanted to be a Tattoo Queen, but it kept her quietly entertained for a long time so I left her to it. In hindsight, perhaps I should have paid a little more attention to what she was doing. Soz about that.

Princess adorned herself in temporary tattoos. On her face, on her shoulders (I’m impressed by how she managed to tattoo her own shoulder), on her torso and up and down both arms. Oh, and on her neck. And then, she moved onto her brother and sister and did all over their arms and torsos. That goodness they wouldn’t let her tattoo their faces. Smart kids.

My favourite part of the whole escapade, was when she said to her father, “Hey – Dad? You will be so proud. Your baby girl is getting her first tattoo!”. His face. Priceless.

My least favourite part of the while escapade, was two days later when I thought, I better remove these tattoos, lest it look like we never clean our children.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand they didn’t come off. So, using the tattoos on Princess’s arm and torso, we started to try everything.

Soap and water? Nope.

Babywipes? Nope. What? But they clean everything!

Nail polish remover? Nope.

Antibacterial wipes? Nope.

Oh, shit.

And so, I did what any decent parent would do. I appealed to Facebook. And the suggestions ranged from makeup remover (hello? I use baby wipes!) to a scouring pad (thanks, Mum). I didn’t really want to put turpentine near my 6 year old’s face, and while Mr T’s suggestion of JIF (household cleaner) did work, it also started to strip layers of skin, so again, not near faces.

The most consistent answer on FB was olive oil, which made sense. While I appreciate that people think we are millionaires, alas we don’t have olive oil in the house. We do, however, have common-garden vegetable oil. Worth a try.

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And, it worked. Princess valiantly sat in front of her purple vanity unit with a packet of cotton pads and a bottle of vegetable oil, and she soaked and she wiped and she scrubbed and, gosh darn it, she removed those damn tattoos.

By the end, she was tired and I was tired. She said to me, “I learned my lesson, Mum. No more tattoos on my face”.

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Mr T visibly breathed a sigh of relief.

And so today, she woke up fresh faced and said to me, “it’s so nice to see my own pretty face again”.

That it is.

Imagine my excitement when she emerged from her dentist’s appointment this morning with a grin and a “Guess what the dentist gave me, Mum! Some Frozen tattoos!”.

Oh, you have got to be kidding me.

Not. On. Your. FACE.

 

 

2

My House is a Mess

Today, for a change (sarcasm) my house is a mess. A pig sty. It’s Day Two of the school hols, and there is shit (for lack of a better word) every where. Books. Toys. Clothes. Spoons. Everywhere.

And, it’s midday and so far I’ve hung two loads of washing, brought in two loads, changed the sheets and made four beds, cleaned the kitchen, put on the dishwasher and tidied up the bathroom. Incidentally, I’ve also suggested to Princess that she might like to tidy her room – she very politely commented, without a shred of irony or snark, “You actually don’t need to tell me, Mum – I’ve already started”.

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Right.

But, here’s the thing.

I need, we need, to stop apologising for the state of our houses. If someone was to come over unannounced today, I would be horrified and embarrased at the state of my house. But why? It’s not hygienically dirty. I vacuumed yesterday, though you wouldn’t know it to look at it. The kids are, by-and-large, wearing clothing. Well, pyjamas at least. And it’s not as though I’ve been sitting on my toosh perusing Facebook all morning.  Or sitting on my bed watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Ok, I did that for a little bit.

I mean, don’t get me wrong – I get why we tidy houses. Clean houses are so much nicer to be in. I feel that, I really do. I get such an immense sense of pleasure when my house is spotless. So much, in fact, that I take photos and send them to people. Literally to say, “look! My house is clean!”.

Because, it only ever lasts a day, tops. And I think that’s actually ok?

Our house has three kids in it. Three kids who like to read, play with lego, play with dolls, play toy kitchens. This house also has a mum in it. A mum who doesn’t want to spend her entire day constantly cleaning up after said children.

If someone tells me they are coming over, I clean the house. I make it look presentable – often by relocating the junk to another room, to be honest. And I do this because I know that the cleanliness of my house reflects on me. But what I don’t like, is the feeling that the cleanliness of my house reflects on me as a mother.

We already have so much damn pressure put on us to be perfect mothers. Our kids should be well behaved. They should be tidy and clean. They should be polite. Our house should be tidy.

So, I tidy my house when someone is coming over. I even spend hours tidying, and then pull the old line, “excuse the mess”, knowing full well that the house is cleaner than it has been in weeks.

But, what if there is an emergency? And I have to call someone to come over in a rush? My house probably won’t be tidy. It will be clean, but not necessarily tidy. And, if I can’t allow someone to see my house in it’s true state, then I feel like that says more about them, than me.

If a person comes into your house and judges you (and I know, pre-kids I was well guilty of it myself), then do you really want that person in your house?

I guess my point is this – I work hard at home. Very little of my time is actually spent sitting down doing nothing. In fact, as I type this, I have a 2 year clambering over me, and I’ve left my chair twice now to clean up a spill or fetch a drink of water or take a child to the toilet. Yet, my house still looks like a bombsite. I shouldn’t have to apologise for that. What I should apologise for, is getting angry at my kids when they dare to walk into a room I’ve just cleaned. How dare they think they can live in this house? That’s not the mum I want to be.

You know what? My kids are happy. We are having an at-home day. A PJ day. A messy house day.

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And that’s ok.

 

1

The elusive Sleeping Through

When you have a newborn baby, one of the most talked about topics is whether they are sleeping through the night. Which, in itself, is a ridiculously unattainable goal – we consider “sleeping through” to be bedtime till awake time (say, 6pm – 8am, how awesome would that be?!) but the “technical” definition is 6 hours without waking. So, by definition, could be 2am – 8am. Not awesome.

Your little baby wakes two hourly. Then four hourly. Then, if you have a super great sleeper like Princess was (note: was), by 6 weeks she will be sleeping 10-12 hours uninterrupted. I know, right?! She was such a good sleeper, that we (bless our naive cotton socks) asked our doctor if we should be concerned. If only we knew. If only we knew.

On the flipside, BoyChild was a horrendous sleeper. In his first year, he didn’t sleep more than four goddam hours E.V.E.R. I understand why they use sleep interruption as torture. I get it. I feel for anyone who has to be subjected to that. I’m confident that Mr T and I both lost a large portion of our sanity that year. I’m not overly confident mine ever came back.

And then, you have BabyGirl. This amazing baby slept twelve hours at a time, from a very, very young age. That’s great, I hear you say. Well, no. She slept the wrong twelve hours. She would stay up until 1am, 2am and then crash out for 12 hours. Which is all well and good except for, oh, you know, the other people in the family who had places to be at 9am.

Sleeping through the night. Does it actually exist? I found myself lying in bed at 4am last night, staring at the ceiling, asking myself this very question.

Kids, the little sneaks, they are so good at lulling us parents into a false sense of security. Suddenly, without warning, you will realise that, holy moly, the kids are all sleeping through. They go to bed at 7:30, and by 9:30 you realise they are all asleep, and you and other half haven’t spoken in two hours. You look at the peculiar person sitting across the room. You wave. He waves. You say, “hello”. He takes off his headphones, pauses his computer game, and says “what? did you say something?”. So romantic. So romantic.

Often we will have a run of, say, a week where all three kids sleep properly. Naturally, we don’t notice until they stop, and we realise how easy we have had it.

I wonder, I do – at what age will I actually ever sleep through the night again? I mean, our kids are past that text book age bracket of waking in the night for actual legitimate reasons. You know, like needing to be fed, or have their nappies changed.

To give you an idea of the sleeplessness I experience, this is a snapshot of my night last night.

7:oopm. BoyChild goes to bed.

7:30pm. Princess goes to bed.

7:40pm. Princess goes back to bed.

7:46pm. Princess GET BACK TO BED I SWEAR TO ALL THAT IS HOLY WHERE THE HECK ARE YOUR PYJAMAS?!

8:00pm. BabyGirl starts her nightly ritual of *ahem* self soothing to sleep. On my leg.

9:00pm. BabyGirl falls asleep hard. I slip a nappy on her and carry her to bed. Thank goodness she is such a deep sleeper.

11:00pm. I head to bed. I am so accustomed to kids staying up until all hours that even when they do go to bed early, I don’t.

12:00pm. I turn off Toddlers and Tiaras and go to sleep.

12:30am. BoyChild sleeptalks.

1:15am. BabyGirl falls out of bed.

1:30am. Princess sneaks into my bed.

1:50am. I notice Princess is in my bed and carry her back to her room.

2:45am. I leave Princess’s room after sitting next to her until she falls asleep.

4:20am. BoyChild decides to use my ensuite. He turns on my bedroom light, then the bathroom light. Pees. Flushes. Washes his hands with soap. Dries his hands. Turns off bathroom light. Turns off my bedroom light. Cries that it is dark and can I please take him to his room?

6:50am. Boychild is up for the day. He quietly tells me he is awake and then disappears into the living room.

7:28am. Princess crawls into my bed. I tell her to go back to her own bed. She says it’s day time. I say she is mistaken.

7:30am. My alarm goes off. FML.

 

Coffee.

Coffee is the answer to your question.

Coffee is always the answer.

I am holding out hope that, when all three kids are somewhere between the ages they are now, and the age when they start going out at night, there will be a year or so when I might sleep like a normal human being. Because, once they hit their teens, I suspect the sleeplessness will rev up again. Worrying about them, about what they are up to, about them getting home safely. I now understand why, when I got “mildly intoxicated” as a teen, I staggered into the living room to find my parents sitting there, just patiently waiting. “I think I’m in trouble” I slurred, before turning and smacking clean into the wall. My parents, they knew their shit.

And, once the kids leave home, will I sleep then? Or will I be so used to waking, that I will naturally wake at odd hours? Lets be honest, will my bladder ever sustain a full night’s sleep? I doubt it.

Sleeping through the night? I fear that ship has sailed. Oh, to return to my 20s when husband and I would sleep till noon. What’s it like, I wonder, waking when you want to as opposed to when a smaller version of yourself tells you you should wake up?

Who the heck knows.

 

 

 

 

 

4

Does it get any easier?

The other day I read an article about Prince William and parenting. In it, he talks about little George and Charlotte, and quips, “Does it get easier?”.

At the time, I laughed, said “Bless you, Prince William” out loud, and then moved on to whatever chaos was ensuing in my house.

Last night, as I sat next to Princess’s bed at 1am, blocking her from leaving the room while simultaneously keeping her quiet and shushing BabyGirl who was also stirring, thanks entirely to Princess and her midnight theatrics about spiders in her bed and the 643 reasons why she can’t sleep in her room any more, I thought about Prince William again. And whether it gets easier.

No, Wills, my buddy – it does not. It changes, that’s certain. And we adapt to the way things needs to be done. But easier? Nope.

As kids grow, their needs change and they enter into new phases and stages. And with each new stage and phase comes new challenges.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I feel as though the older my kids get, the less I know about this parenting business. Princess is going through a particularly anxious stage at present, and I am the first to put my  hand up and say, “I have no freakin idea how to deal with this”. You want the best outcome for your kids, so they learn and grow and don’t end up damaged as a direct result of your parenting shortcomings. No pressure or anything.

There is so much out there on social media about how to parent “right”. Don’t tell your daughter she is pretty, lest she become obsessed or self conscious about her looks. Remember to tell your child these 434 different things each day, to ensure they know you love them and are proud of them. Don’t tease your kids, don’t lie to them, don’t tell them the truth, don’t pull the finger at them behind their back as they stomp away. Make sure your child is nurtured and cuddled (but NOT coddled). No pressure or anything.

BabyGirl has entered the awesome phase of screaming when things don’t go her way, regardless of where we are. Today I had the nerve to take Princess to her classroom at school, instead of taking her to another, random classroom that BabyGirl decided should be Princess’s classroom. The screams were enough to draw a teacher from a nearby class. She’s fine, I flustered. Just leave her, she’s fine. Please, don’t judge me, don’t tell her it’s ok, just leave her. She’s fine. I’m fine. I’m not crying. You are crying.

On Monday I had to carry Princess into her classroom, this time it was her who was screaming the place down. Soon I’ll be known as The Mother With Kids Who Scream. Or, The Mother Who Drinks A Lot. Or The Mother Who Sits In Her Car After Drop Off, Laughing Or Crying, No One Is Sure. Not Even Her.

No pressure or anything.

Wanting the best for your kids is one of the hardest, and easiest, parts of parenting. Easy because it is one of our strongest instincts as parents. Hardest because how the heck do you do it?

So, back to Prince William. Does it get easier? Well, yes. There will come a time when your kids are no longer climbing furniture and trying to kill themselves by jumping off the top of a bookshelf. There will come a time when your kids will listen when you tell them not to fight/run away/disobey you. When that time comes for me, I will let you know. There will come a time when your kids sleep through the night. It does get easier.

And then comes the time when those things are replaced by new, more challenging obstacles. And again, and again. And then comes a time when I think, as a parent, you will have to sit back and hope you have done all you can, to make your little person into a pretty okay adult.

No pressure or anything.

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