Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Qs & As of Mothering Mediocrity & My Mommitment Commitment

During the month of May, I've jumped on the Mommitment train. If you don't know what this is, the Mommitment Facebook Page describe it as a 'movement bringing moms together by asking for a commitment to try and show compassion and support instead of judgement and shame.' We mums give ourselves a hard enough time. We don't need to be brought down by Ms Sancto Judgy McJudge, and we certainly shouldn't be putting down anyone else, either. We need to cut ourselves a break. No matter who we are, where we are from, and however many creatures you have had burst forth from your chest cavity (or your girly bits for that matter) we are all bound by motherhood. There's no one size fits all. There's no perfect mother. Let's stop the school yard judgements, start recognising the unique parenting styles we all have and bask in the awesomeness of our own little creations. After all, we were blessed with the fertile ability to procreate - a 'luxury' not every woman can attain - so let's have each other's backs. It takes a village, people. Simples.

With five kids, I've had my share of criticisms and mothering eyebrow-raising moments. Sometimes, I've lacked effective parenting foresight. My five kids are unique. They have been raised by the same parents exhibiting the same love, rules, morals, values, affection, and expectations, and despite this I have five very, very different individuals. So very different that on many occasions, I question whether I am their biological mother.

One thing I have realised from sharing on my Cut My Milk Facebook page, is that I am far from being alone in this mothering gig, especially on my crappiest of days where I'm ready to run away to join a circus in the Bahamas (or Greenland - I'm not fussed, as long as I'm alone) or prepared to wear prison orange. Mothers like to hear that other mothers have hard days, t
hat they have kids who can be freaking asshats over tiny first-world bullshittery, and who can find guiltless submission to a day's worth of Maccas because the thought of preparing meals for fussy eaters and cleaning up again and again and again is too much to cope with. 

So I thought I'd answer a few questions about my mediocre mothering awesomeness. If you'd like to - and I'd really, really love you to - answer the same questions and send them on to little ol' me to share on this blog. As they say, sharing is caring, and your mothering adventures could help another mum somewhere in the world.

Something we all love to share (and read) are birth stories. These are sometimes epic tales of torture and horror and one-upmanship... Yeah, you think that was bad? I was in labour for 72 hours without drugs and birthed my 5kg child through my nose.

How many kids do you have and at what age did you have them? 
What were their birth weight(s)?
How did you have them? Natural? At home? Drugs, drugs & more drugs? C-section? 
Some days, I have five too many kids. Some days. 

I had my son Campbell when I was 28 and my husband was 26. I was given birth dates anywhere between Christmas Eve 1999 and the 13th of January 2000. On the 4th of January, I was told he was 'a little tacker', that he was sitting up high in my belly and that I would probably meet him in two weeks time. With a few exhausted tears and a 'fuck that shit', I left the doctor's and waddled to the shopping centre. My waters broke an hour later, and after three more days, heaps of drugs, antibiotics, a broken venteuse, forceps, a crowd of obstetric students staring at a massive head tearing up my clunge, an unexpected 9lbs14oz, 57cm long, three month old-looking baby boy clawed his way out. I discharged myself out the very next morning without even knowing how to bathe my baby, and needless to say, we didn't go back to that hospital.

I was 30 when I had Ella in 2001. She was a pretty straight forward, drugs-a-plenty delivery, despite being sunny-side up and tearing me from chin to the back of my neck (you wanted that imagery, right?). She was a dainty 9lb1oz. I had uncontrollable fanny farting when the nurse stitched me up, her head mere centimetres from the action. You wanted to hear that also, didn't you? They say they've seen it all, but nurses still don't get paid enough.

Lily & Grace, Day 1.
No kisses for Lily.
My IVF long-shot twins were delivered by elective cesarean at 36 weeks. I was 37 years old. I measured 57 weeks pregnant. I felt 57 weeks pregnant. I was the guinea pig for an anaesthetist who was doing her first epidural. I hate this girl with a passion. Grace was yanked out first and a minute later Lily was out. They were 6lb and 6lb1oz. They spent their first two weeks in a Special Care Nursery & I couldn't kiss them without a mask on for the first few days as I had the flu. Swine Flu was the Disease du Jour & all precautions were taken. No, I just had the arse-end of a lurgy.

2kg of cheeks
Scarlett was a surprise. A wonderful scary surprise, and off the back of a miscarriage shortly before she was conceived. I was told that because of her thick nuchal fold (an ultrasound marker for Down Syndrome) and because I was over 40, the chances of having a child with Down Syndrome was quite high. I continued the pregnancy. Obviously. In 2012, a perfectly healthy, perfectly enormous 10lb12oz baby Scarlett was born by cesarean. My tubes were tied. Tight.

What is one thing you would have done differently as a mum?
I would have taught them how to do chores from birth. Now I feel I'm teaching old dogs new tricks, and they won't do tricks for free. You've made a rod for your back, I can hear my Grandma call from beyond the grave. Shaddup Grandma.

How are you and your own mum similar?
My Mum & Me. 
I never wanted to admit it while she was alive, but I've noticed a few things that I do that I could see in my mum. The way she would stand in the kitchen (I now live in the same house I grew up in. It's not as cool as it sounds) and would lean over the bench with her head resting on one hand, and nodded and uh-huh-ed to conversations she wasn't really listening to ~ that's me. The way she rocked the Silent Treatment when she was pissed with Dad ~ me with my husband. The way she'd let her kids speak the way they did to her, chastise her over stupidly intolerant things, and get away with murder ~ me again. The way she'd do any thing and at any time for her kids ~ sort of me. 

What behaviour/quality/habit/quirk of yours would you love to see in your own children when they grow up?
I hope they develop their own sense of humour and sarcasm and I think they're already on their way to achieving these. I'd love them to want to learn, have the drive to succeed in anything they truly want in life, but with the understanding that nothing is set in stone, paths can be changed and these experiences are what shape us. I want them to have the same passion for learning as I do. I'm starting to see some of these things in them.

What behaviour/quality/habit/quirk of yours would you not want to see you kid(s) inherit from you?
Good God. How long is this blog post going to be? Where do I start?
I don't want them to experience depression and anxiety as I have. Unfortunately, it's starting to show in my teenagers. I don't want them to be stress-heads. I want them to be able to control their emotions, particularly anger (which is a by-product of anxiety for me). I don't want them to inherit my seriously poor housekeeping (again, already showing - monkey see, monkey do), my terrible management of all things financial, and what feels like a permanent 'KICK ME' sign attached to my back.

What advice would you give a soon-to-be mum about motherhood (assuming she wants your freaking advice)?
Of course, mums-to-be want unsolicited parenting advice! I could fill a toilet with all the parenting advice I've been given about how to raise babies, raise teens, raise husbands, and my personal favourites of all the things I'm doing wrong as a mother. You want my advice? You know what you should do? Listen to all the advice these well-meaning-heart-of-gold parents give you. Nod politely. Agree if you have to. Then do what you want to do, need to do and can do. Being a mum is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Stick with your own beliefs, your own experiences, your own upbringing and don't be afraid to ask (the right people) for help and advice when you need it. There are very few things you can do to stuff this up. Feed, clean, clothe, love, keep them safe and healthy and keep yourself safe and healthy. Know your own body and stress levels. If you suspect you're not coping or have unusual or out-of-character thoughts, don't be too proud or too scared to get help. Postnatal Depression and Post Partum Psychosis are very real and very dangerous. They fuck you up. Trust me. I know. Get help.

Dry shampoo will be your best friend.

I learned by the fifth baby this handy dandy gem - don't be a martyr. Don't sacrifice yourself and your needs as a human. If you have a husband or partner, have them help with night feeds, nappy changes, and let you have rest. Rest doesn't have to mean 'sleep' -although that's a bonus - but time away from Groundhog Day is important. And I think it's only fair that both of you are just as sleep deprived as each other. Neither one of you has the 'more important job' to do the next day.
Great advice from

What advice would you have liked to have received before you became a mum?
Get sleep. Tell your own mum that you now really, really, really understand why she did what she did, and appreciate the sacrifices she may have made. I want to tell my mum so badly that I understand the heartbreak and pain I must have caused her on many thoughtless occasions, and that if my child did anything like that to me I would be devastated. Well, they have and I was.

Breast is not always best. 

You don't have to like being a mum every second of every muthafucking day. You don't have to take on board every piece of advice and opinions. Like the adage goes: Opinions are like arseholes. Everyone has one. 

Were you an insta-mum? Did motherhood come naturally to you? What did/do you find difficult about being a mum? What do you think is the best thing about motherhood?
Hell no! But I wanted this baby (my first) so badly, I was fixated on all the wonderful mothers in TVLand who found motherhood an easy and precious gift. I had been a primary school teacher and a teacher of the deaf and thought - no, believed - that if I could handle classrooms of kids and kids who couldn't hear, then becoming a mum would be a piece of piss. No. It wasn't. I hated his crying. I hated breast feeding. I hated my husband for going to work every day. I hated myself. I hated what I'd become. I hated all the mums at mother's group who gushed and gooed at their babies and loved every minute of being a mum. I didn't know what I was doing, I didn't know what this small creature wanted, I didn't ask for help, I didn't want people to know I felt like I was failing. I'd never failed anything before. None of my friends had babies at that point and I felt hopeless, useless and alone. I wanted someone to take my baby away from me but I didn't want anyone to touch him. 

The best thing about motherhood? I know this sounds cliché, but you really would take a bullet for your kids. You feel their pains. You want to be there for them through anything, but you know you need to let them make their own mistakes and experiences. It's pretty awesome knowing you created these weirdos. I don't always feel I'd do this, coz some days I just want to throw them into next week, but I'm fairly sure I would take a bullet for them. I think I would. I want to get a tattoo of their names all up my arm. Doesn't that count as devotion? 

So how about you?
Would you like to share your mothering thoughts on here? Add them to the comments below. They don't have to be long winded like mine...

Let's spread the motherloving love around the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment