Mother’s Day sucks pom poms

It sucks balls.  I dread it every year because it’s yet another reminder that our family is not a normal nine-to-five family where everyone sits around the table at the same time telling tales about bigfoot sightings and camping adventures. We’re a tag-team family who work hours unbeknownst to many, and sometimes our hours clash and we panic.

Mother’s Day is a day that I avoid all family locations – zoos, lunch spots, picnic areas, day spas (ha) – because I want to cry my face off when I see parents together with their kids celebrating all things mum.

My husband left for work this morning at 7am. He gave me a kiss, passed me a little gift and off he went, gone for the next 12 hours. He’s a chef and days like today mean that he will be super busy, so it’s ridiculous thinking he will have a day off.

Alfie woke at 5.30am, but as my hubby worked a triple shift yesterday, I got up nice and early in a very pre-menstrual state wishing everyone who received a sleep in followed by breakfast in bed to fuck off.

A quick raining day visit to my next door neighbour’s house retuned my attitude. Why was I so shitty? I had a beautiful, healthy and happy little boy, playing away with a truck on  the floor. I have a safe, warm (and very pretty) house, loads of sweet pals, a great job, vegies in the fridge and, of course, a very loving husband… who just so happens to work when all the other dads are playing at the park with their kids.

It made me think about my own superbly awesome mum, Julie. She lives three hours away but we talk on the phone and visit each other all the time. It’s amazing how having a child can bring you even closer to your mum.
Growing up, we lived on a hippy self sufficient 11 acres in regional Victoria. I am a middle child, stuck between two brothers. We didn’t care about TV, we had a trampoline, bikes, cubbies, fires, land to run and of course stacks of chores.

We unexpectedly lost our dad when we were little, mum became a widow at just 38 (five years older than what I am now). Mum trooped on, because she’s a legend, and still got us to school, fed and as she had been a stay at home mum this whole time, she even headed to work for the first time since before she was married. The self-sufficient lifestyle became hard and we were introduced to the likes of Chicken Tonight and Kantong. We didn’t care, because mum was always there and always happy to do stuff with us and support us with what we wanted to do: tennis, cricket, netball, theatre, baking, music video making, bmx jump creating, helmet designs, fire starting, spear making, pushing stuffed stockings into jars to make pickled people (Google it), sewing, cross country running, dancing (my brothers dance better than me) and even making a flying fox.

Years later, mum met an awesome dude (who was also our science teacher in high school) and remarried, becoming a mum to two amazing girls, who also became our rad sisters.

My mum is the type to tell it how it is, there’s no beating around the bush with her. She’s probably the only person to tell me that I’m highly strung (which I am), or to tell me to chill out and go with the flow (which I should).  Everything is straight forward with her and there is never any judging (except when it comes to what newsreaders wear), which is why she is the best mum ever (and also because she packs sneakers when she comes to visit because my son doesn’t sit still). My mum is the best inspiration.

After telling my neighbour all about my mum this morning, I headed home and saw the little present my husband had left for me this morning. A little book titled ‘Craft for the Soul’ by Pip Lincolne. It’s perfect.

So today, on this Mother’s day, I am taking inspiration from this book and doing what my mum would do if she was in a mood like mine. Today, I am making pom poms.

May your Mother’s Day be filled with pom poms.

The Twins

My husband recently came home with twin baby dolls for Alfie. He’d picked them up from Kmart and when I asked him why he purchased a twin set instead of a single babe, he told me that all the other babies had looked too real. So real, that you’d do a double take if you walked past them in the corner of the bedroom. So real, that they were root of all the darkest nightmares.

I didn’t probe him on this. I unpacked The Twins from the packaging, cable tie-like attachments holding their arms and neck in place. I freed them from the box and accepted that The Twins, Baby Jesse and Beak, had entered our busy lives.

For an already time poor child, The Twins have certainly added to Alfie’s busy schedule. I have never seen Alfie so caring and gentle with any of his toys. He runs in the front door after day care and checks on The Twins, talking  to them, putting them over his shoulder for a quick burping session and then inviting them to join him for tea at the table.

After tea, The Twins have an invisible bath, their bodies washed with a dry cloth in the potty (will that thing ever be used for the right purpose?) Then they are given a drink and put to bed after a gentle rocking session.

It all sounds so sweet and homely, but to be honest, I’m so effing sick of The Twins. They are really high maintenance. Because there are two of them, I’ve got to pick up the slack with Baby Jesse when Alfie is busy with Beak and vice versa.

Alfie keeps telling me to ‘shush’ when I’m around them, like I’m too noisy. When I’m rocking Baby Jesse to sleep, he grabs The Twin off me and says ‘No, mumma’, continuing to show me how to do it properly.

When we go to the park, Alfie usually pushes the double stroller with The Twins for say 20 metres, then I’ve got to carry them the rest of the way, along with the Tonka and a handful of rocks. Always rocks.

At tea time, I’ve got to help feed The Twins, trying not to mess up their Crayola covered faces any more so. Their fabric bodies are covered in sticky jam, biro doodles, dirt. Baby Jesse’s head has a bite mark in it from where Cheef Dog was chewing it. The outfits The Twins came in are beyond acceptable with the Velcro adhesive holding half of my hair and something that resembles Blu Tak, but is more than likely a sultana.

I’m disgusted in myself as much as I am The Twins. I should be showing Alfie that I care for them as much as he does. I should be giving them a proper bath, showing them how to use the potty, helping him to see that washing a face with a washer is not me threatening murder.

Instead, after Alfie goes to bed, I chuck The Twins in the toy box along with the other entire primary coloured carnage and shush myself when I stub my toe on the miniature double stroller parked in the hallway.

The only joy I get out of The Twins is setting the babies up in random places around the house, their grotty drawn on faces staring into your soul, and scaring the absolute shit out of my husband when he gets home from work late at night.

I’m too terrified to throw them out, just in case they reappear as they were the next morning, their heads spinning around ever so slightly. Shudder.

This post first appeared on Bubba West

Mum vs Wife

Sometimes I talk to my husband through my child. It really annoys me when I do it, but I still do it. It’s not funny, it’s condescending, but I can’t help it. Perhaps it makes me feel better. For example:
“Hey Alfie, why don’t we ask dad to pick up all the crusts on the floor?”
“Let’s see if dad can take you to the park so that mum can have a sleep on her face.”
“Why don’t you go into mum and dads room and wake up your father and show him how you have worked out how to squeal like a pinched pig?”
“Why don’t we ask dad to change your stinky nappy?”
“Let’s leave the wet washing on the floor and see if dad will hang it out.”
It’s not as if my husband doesn’t do anything. He does. Some weeks he parents more than me, some weeks I parent more than him. It all depends on our crazy work shifts. So I don’t know why I turn into a condescending brat using my son as a force field. Have I forgotten how to talk to my husband?
Now we are parents we seem so much more connected. We were connected before, but it’s different now. We still have the occasional fight – mainly about food management or domestic duties – but we get over a fight so much quicker now. We both know how to cheer up our son if he is sad, we have even busted out synchronised dances without a rehearsal. This is how connected we are.
But then there are things about our relationship that seem so disconnected. The other day I had a wax, not because I wanted to impress the old hubby, but because our son had swimming lessons later that week. I wear pyjamas now just in case I have to get up during the night. Sometimes I put these on within ten minutes of arriving home from work. I pull my bra off through my sleeve in front of my husband while giving him the low-down on my day. And yesterday I pointed to the aeroplane in the sky, forcing him to look.
Who am I now? When did I start wearing my husband’s socks to work? Why are farts now so ridiculously funny? Why did I just send my hubby a text saying ‘Alfie took a crap on the abacus’ rather than ‘You’re a spunk’?
It’s so bloody difficult finding the balance between being a wife and a mum, some days the roles just overlap. Some days they are so far removed from each other that it all becomes confusing and other days it just gels. What I do know is that in our little family we all seem to have a connection during the highs and the lows, even if it is laughing at farts, laughing at me or just doing a plain old robot dance in the kitchen while arguing through gritted teeth.  All in all, it gives us something to giggle about when we sit down for tea in our pj’s.

This post first appeared on Bubba West.