Sunday, January 29, 2012

My life is a Rod Stewart song....

And so the dreaded day arrived. I knew it would - it's par for the course in parenting, right? But secretly (arrogantly? hopefully? smugly?) as one by one of my friends fell, wounded by the wicked words of innocent anger, I couldn't really believe my first born baby would turn on me. But now, I too have been shot by the brutal bullet...... 'I hate you'...
She's six. So I suppose I've fared ok so far. I always thought I'd laugh it off - after all - its just frustration, just justifiable anger that I am the boss and she has to do as she's told. It's just a churlish childish chant, something to hurl at me, to lash out with because her little body and bourgeoning mind can't yet cope with the tsunami of feelings and frustrations of life.
I knew all that. And it still stung. Like a winter wasp that hides in the carpet, the sting sliced through skin, shuddering through me, making my eyes water.
And in response to her childish attack, did I behave like an adult? No, I did not. I walked out of the bedroom and couldn't look or speak to her. I was hurt. Like a child. Until she found me out and hugged me.
Now of course, my inner child has gone back to sleep, and the mature mother that I am has re-emerged and laughing about it. Now when we hug, or say goodnight, I laugh and say, "So, do you love me or hate me?"
And she smiles shyly, hugs harder and shouts,"Love you!"
No doubt she'll sting me again. But like good ol' Rod used to sing.... the first cut is the deepest.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Childhood dreams

Look at it..... in all its glory.

Daisy has been having a hard time of late - you know, the world of a six year old can be hard to navigate at times. And, if truth be told, I've found being the mum to a six year old hard to navigate at times too. Having two younger sisters six year old can be hard to navigate at times. It's hard enough being an adult woman and yearning for that much sought after 'room of one's own' as Virginia Woolf extolled. As a writer and blogger, my desk is wherever the kids have left enough space on the table to fit my laptop on. Sometimes its the car. Sometimes the sofa. But, I have a cupboard that is all my own..... I have to be thankful for something. And so I've begun to see how frustrating things are for Daisy. She shares a bedroom, and everything she owns is on display and vulnerable to the prying hands of one sister, and the destructive hands of the other. She doesn't even have a drawer to call her own. She learned to read recently and it has opened up her world. She has always loved books, and had been writing little stories for months (first with drawings, and now with words.....). she has scraps of paper hidden all over the house, and cries with rage when she discovers Ruby has eaten them!

And so, I searched back to my own childhood and found the very thing that I would have loved as a child. I remember my nanna and pappa's mahogany writing desk. It was a world of wonder to me, and I would spend hours searching the cubby holes, playing with the stationery and pretending I was important. And so as a well done for learning to read so well, we got Daisy her own little writing desk. I think one of the happiest hours of my life was filling the little drawers and cubby holes with staionery I bought (I'm still obsessed - my friends drool over designer handbags, I go ga-ga in stationery shops), and getting it ready for her. She was delighted. Daisy doesn't do big shows of emotion, but she was shyly ecstatic. And the first thing she sat and wrote? A thank you card to me..... The best bit is the roll down lock - not only does she have her own drawers now, she can hide away all her work. We all need a room (cupboard, space) of our own... even when we're six.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Coming clean and getting dirty...

I can see from the long lost date of my last blog that the effects of my trip are still working! In fact, I've become so laid back this last while, my horribly kitsh, beautifuly snuggly purple cheneille dressing gown has become like a second skin. I've done more arts and crafts with the girls in the last month than I have in a year, and I survived Christmas, 4 different sets of visitors, a baking bonanza and various family ailments with barely a wimper.

Time to come clean. Last April I was diagnosed with post-natal depression. I'd always been a half-full glass sort of girl - every problem just needed a solution. But my life was in such a mess it wasn't that I suddenly saw the glass as half-empty - I couldn't see the glass at all. The fog in my brain, the grief I was feeling, the helplessness that was drowning me meant at times I could not see how I would make it to the end of the minute, never mind the hour, never mind the day. One day I might write about it more... but the place I went to still frightens me.
Time to come clean. I have found Ruby the hardest baby of all. I have found Ruby unbearable at times. I have been reduced to tears and tantrums and sheer screaming by her exhuberance and willpower.
Time to come clean. The last year I have had to learn to love my mum again. I have grieved for the one I had, and have had to learn to embrace the shadow she has become since her stroke. Despite seeing her as much as I could, I would cry on the drive up with the reluctance I felt. I would have to walk into another room and literally scream into a cushion, before arranging my face and walking back to her lying in her bed.
The last year has been the toughest struggle of my life just to survive. Just to get to the end of it. But slowly, slowly, I am recovering. I am gaining strength. I have found my mojo.
I no longer dread my mum; I can't wait to see her and tell her all the news.
I no longer hide from my girls in the bathroom; I put everything else aside and play with them.
I no longer wince when Ruby cries and holds her arms up to be held; I swoop her up and make her giggle.

I've had to make some decisions for the sake of my mental health - and therefore the sake of my family. I buried the superwoman aspiration. I cremated the yummy mummy goal. I sucked the spotless house ambition up the hoover.

I haven't written a blog in 3 weeks because, well, other things were happening. And you know what? The world didn't fall apart. I didn't write a thing for three weeks in fact and you know what? I had a freezer full of prepared food for Christmas and guests and I spent the time with them and the kids instead of missing all the fun. I prioritised. I took breaks. The other morning, I put Ruby back down to sleep, the girls in front of the telly, and I went back to bed with my book and a cup of tea. I decided it was my Christmas holiday too. And you know what? The parenting police didn't come and lock me up. The gremlin on my shoulder who usually tells me I have no right to rest was asleep. I went back to bed and read my book. I didn't write my blog. I didn't make lists. I didn't bake, and most of all, I didn't clean. There is dust in places there shoudn't be. And you know what? I'm happier for it.
So, I've come clean, and the house is going to get dirtier.
Happy new year!