Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Fabulous February



Here we are.  The end of Fabulous February, and what a fabulous month it has been!  I started this month with a post about judgment.  We've all been there - judging others before actually walking in their shoes.  And I'm no different.  Hell, I probably wrote the book on judging mothers before I actually was one.  I still do it, but I'm not smug about it.  These days I know that one day that could be me.

This month also saw The Architect and I celebrate our ten year wedding anniversary and we had a lovely celebration dinner together.  Ten years ago we were kid and carefree.  Ten years on we're parents of two little munchkins and not necessarily what I would term carefree, but we've been fortunate enough to continue growing together and I'm thankful for that everyday.

Little Warrior and Polynesian Princess also celebrated their birthdays this month and we promised the Polynesian Princess that she could have a birthday party.  It's the first real kids party that I have ever done and I blogged about it here and here.  Yes, I had to do two blogs to cover it.  I am particularly proud of the Dolly Varden cake I made for her.  Big ups for me!

I have been what I call a Two-Sh*t Sam in the past and no doubt will be in the future.  A friend of mine said he refers to these people as two-catters.  If you've got one cat, they've got two.  If you've done one sh*t, well you get the picture.  It is a rare find, but there are people out there that consistently two-sh*t/two-cat you.  Do you know one?

And finally, the post I ended the month with was Mama Guilt.  You don't need to be a mother to feel guilt.  I recently caught up with an old friend who isn't married and doesn't have children.  She admitted to feeling guilty spending $300 on her hair.  And then buying product!  It would appear that guilt manifests itself everywhere and in anyone.  It's how we deal with it that is the key to having a happier life.

So that's a big farewell to Fabulous February from me and let's dive headfirst into Magnificent March.

Happy Wednesday everyone and thanks for following.

xxx

Monday, 27 February 2012

Mama Guilt



I wanted to write about this topic because I feel I know a lot about it.  And when I say: I know a lot about it, what I mean is: I feel a lot of guilt.  Most of the time.  In fact after Little Warrior was born, I was wracked with guilt for the Polynesian Princess.  I actually said to The Architect “maybe we shouldn’t have had another baby?”  I know.  Crazy, but it’s true.  I felt bad for her because I was cranky, tired and constantly snapping at her.  She was in the way, she was rough with the baby and I felt I just didn’t have time for this.  And yet I knew this wasn’t her fault.  This was all new for her.  Up until then she had been the centre of our universe.  And along comes this squalling baby and he’s part of the family!  Here to stay.   And so the guilt came seeping in through the cracks and poisoned my mental health.

I recounted this story to a fellow mother in my mother’s group and she laughed.  “Oh, there’s plenty of other things you’ve got to feel guilty about, I’d leave that one behind”.  Never a truer word has been spoken.

I felt so horrible about week nine after Little Warrior was born.  I started seeing a counsellor and on my first visit she said to me: "so in the first five minutes, you've mentioned the word "guilty" seven times".  Really?  Did I?  I honestly hadn't noticed.  I felt guilty that we'd had another baby.  I felt guilty that I was constantly annoyed at Polynesian Princess.  I even felt guilty that The Architect had to take some time off work so that I could go and see a counsellor.  I'm sure I don't need to say this, but I will: nobody was doing anything to make me feel this way.   The Architect hadn't rolled his eyes, huffed and said "FINE.  I'll take time off work so YOU can sort out YOUR head".  Oh no, it wasn't like that at all.  My counsellor said to me that guilt is the most useless of emotions.   This Holistic Divorce Counseling website does a lot to clear this point up for me.

Whilst the counselor helped me a lot at the time, I still have bouts of feeling guilty, but I guess that's normal.  Recently I was feeling guilty that Little Warrior didn’t have enough in his social calendar.  The Polynesian Princess had Gymboree, swimming, gymnastics, ballet, sports in the park, playdates, the list goes on.  This was all in the first three years of her life.  On the other hand, Little Warrior has been to one trial session of Tiny Tots at our local PCYC.  One session.  And he’s two.

Enter the Guilt.

Something little, but worth mentioning.  Once I said to my Mum that we had to make another trip to Ikea because we were out of meatballs.  She levelled me with her gaze and said “don’t you make your own meatballs?”  Ummmmmm…no.  I don’t.  Later, I flayed myself with the cat o’ nine-tails that is guilt.  WHY DON’T YOU MAKE YOUR OWN MEATBALLS?  How can you possibly be a good mother if you BUY YOUR MEATBALLS!

A lot of innocent comments can be misconstrued.  I get that.  And with someone who is almost always ready to shrug on the coat of guilt, it doesn’t take much to ignite the flame.   So I understand that I’m a touch sensitive and I try (I do) to take things with a grain of salt.  But all it takes is one bad day of forgetting a few things (school hat, water bottle, library book) and I’m down on myself.  Useless, hopeless, forgetful mother that I am.  How do I possibly manage to get myself out the door, let alone two children AND me!

Of course in those moments I don’t remember all the things that I do for my children.  I won't list them, because like most other parents in the world, the list would be endless.  Suffice to say that they're doing alright, our kids.  They don't want for anything, they have food on the table, a roof over their heads and a loving family.  No.  When guilt is visiting, none of that counts.

The trick is to kick the guilt in the butt and send it packing.  When I start to feel guilty about something, I try to look at what I'm feeling guilty about and if it doesn't make sense (ie the meatballs), I just shrug, give it the mental flick and carry on.  I still buy meatballs because it's a super easy and quick meal and the kids love them.  And I don't feel guilty about it.  I will be signing Little Warrior up for Tiny Tots but I won't beat myself up over the fact that his social calendar isn't as full as his sister's.  I reason with myself that at his age, his sister was in full-time daycare, and he has been blessed with having his mother at home for the first two years of his life.

So take THAT guilt!

What about you?  Have you ever had guilt issues?

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Two-Sh*t Sam...




Two-sh*t Sams.  We all know at least one.  You know the kind of person I’m talking about, right?  If you’ve had a bad day, their day was worse.  If you’re feeling under the weather, they’ve just come home from the hospital.  If you know a little about a topic, they’ve suddenly got encyclopaedic knowledge. If you’ve done one sh*t, they’ve done two.

Yep.  Two-sh*t Sams (TSS).   They’re more sick, more successful, more knowledgeable, just more everything.

And I’ve been one.   Every now and again.  And the minute I recognise what I’m doing, I stop.  Mid-sentence.  Because in my humble opinion, it’s a tad rude to TSS someone when they’re telling you something about their life.  I would not be offended if any of my friends stopped me mid-rave and simply said “is that right TSS?”  Truly.  I would be humbled into silence.  And maybe later I could choke out a mortified apology.

I accept that most of the time people don’t realise they’re actually doing this, because we call get carried away when someone's telling us something and we think "hey, I've got a similar story to this!" I get that.  I accept that.  What I'm referring to, is when it's consistently one-upping people.  Like, every. single. time.

So I understand, I totally get it - communicating is a two-way street, but check yourself every now and again.  Are you TSS'ing people?  And more importantly, are you doing it consistently?  Because if you are, chances are you’re so engrossed in impressing upon people your awesome story that you've missed the rolled eyes, the sighs and the casual glancing away from you as you steamroll your way into your bigger and better story. 

So tell me.  Tell me, tell me.  Do you know anyone like this?


Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, 20 February 2012

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to (part 2)...

It's done!  It's all done and dusted and I have emerged from the other side intact and still sane.  What a crazy week it has been!  For those who don't know, my Polynesian Princess and Little Warrior are one day apart.  Yup.  I know.

Anyhoo!  This year I acquiesed and allowed Polynesian Princess a teeny tiny little party in the park.  I figured if it's a park, it's not really a lot of work.   Joke's on me apparently...

The menu.  I went for old favourites honey joys:


And when I say old favourites, I mean "my favourites".

I tried a healthy route and made watermelon jelly shots.  Disaster.  I didn't consider how bland watermelon jelly could be, so in a desperate bid to make them a little more palatable I smothered the top with custard and put silver and pink cachous on the top.  Blech.


Needless to say, they weren't a hit.  Never mind, I just brushed it off and kept going.  There was plenty of that'll do's going on that day.

The centrepiece was the Dolly Varden cake that was requested (really??  it has to be THAT cake?).  I was pleasantly (PLEASANTLY) surprised at how reasonably simple this cake was.  Even for me it was super dooper easy.  After a little handywork with dolly's legs (see below), she actually fit in the cake.  I didn't go the fancy route and use a proper dolly varden doll (ie they're sold sans legs).  I figured I'd just saw her legs off and we were in business!


After icing her and smothering her dress in marshmallows, I was pleasantly surprised and Polynesian Princess was very happy with the result (well, WHEW!).


The games went off without a hitch, the little ones got to run around in the park like wild things and everyone had a ball.  And most importantly?  Momma didn't have a nervous breakdown.  In fact, it was the opposite.  I had a fantastic time.

I learnt a lesson through this whole process.  If people offer to help: LET THEM.  I finally, possibly for the first time, accepted help from people who offered and I must say, it helped me to be a lot more relaxed.  So thank-you to those friends.  You know who you are.

Here's a shot of "the spread".  Needless to say, 80% of it didn't get eaten.


And the pay-off?  Well - a happy little birthday girl, a tired little warrior, a group of contented little party-goers and a glass of "you've done a bloody good job Mummy" that night.


So here's cheers to all the parents out there who have been there, done that and bought the shirt.  May kids parties live on forever! xxx

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

It's my party & I'll cry if I want to (part 1)...


Image: Rawich / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


So!  Polynesian Princess turns five this week and this year we’re allowing her a party.  A small one.  Historically we don’t DO parties.  We have family over for a morning or afternoon tea.  Once we had a couple of her little friends join our family get-together but it was nothing like a real party.  Nothing like me baking a cake she has requested.  Or inviting friends she has requested.  Or playing games she has requested.

Running the idea past The Architect, his only concern was for my welfare.  “If you don’t think it’ll be too stressful….” he ventures…  Because he knows.  He knows what I’m like.  He knows that despite me saying “it’ll be FINE… just a simple gathering in a park” that I will end up with a stress headache, making and baking creations that I could have just bought, and possibly ending up as a stain on the carpet in the corner of our bedroom.

But never mind!  I want to do this for my little girl and I want to make it work.  I mean, how hard can it be?  A cake, some fairy bread and pass the parcel.  Right?  WRONG.  Oh so very wrong.  That would be right for any other normal, reasonable homosapien.  But not me dear reader…not me.  Because once I set my mind on an idea, even if it’s a ‘simple’ idea – I always, ALWAYS want to make it different, or memorable, yet easy.  And herein is my downfall.  Because invariably it’s never that easy when I’m trying to do these kind of things and simultaneously maintain my sanity.

In my head I’m already planning these ‘simple’ things and night after night, lists are growing in my head.  Need to check what battery size the bubble machine takes, and maybe the radio too.  Maybe bring a trestle table and extra chairs and blah blah blah-de-blah.   Seriously.  You’d think I was planning an event for CHOGM, not a five year old’s birthday party.  In a park.  With a handful of girls from school.

I can hear all the veterans reading this and laughing at my naivete.  I appreciate there are people out there who could probably ice a Dolly Varden whilst simultaneously boiling up some cheerios and cutting up the fairy bread.   AND have a spare hand to point to where everything needs to go while you delegate with aplomb.  I know, I know!  This is but a tiny blip on the radar of party planning but I don’t do these things often and for this very reason (I'm whining now).   When it comes to planning, I do have a tendency to over-think and over-complicate things.  There.  I said it.

We are T minus four days until my first foray into the world of hosting a kids’ party.  She has chosen her cake (a dolly varden), and she has chosen honey joys as her treat to take to school on her birthday for her classmates.  Adding to the chaos is the fact that Little Warrior celebrates a birthday tomorrow (yep - he's tomorrow and she is the day after, and NO we didn't have sex once a year).  So there will be a bit of baking happening in my little kitchen over the next few days, not to mention all the prep for the party.  But I'm happy and I know they'll both be happy with whatever I produce.

So stay tuned peeps - I will be as busy as the proverbial blue-ass fly for a while, but I will update once the fat lady sings.  That is, once the party is over, but you got that right?

Yours in butter icing,

D Diva
xx




Friday, 10 February 2012

This is dedicated to the one I love...




Ten years ago The Architect and I were on Castaway Island in Fiji with six members of our beloved family.  Under black, threatening storm clouds we said "I do" and sealed the deal with a kiss and a sprint back into the resort.  I loved our wedding.  It was simple, easy and (relatively) stress-free.  We celebrated with all our friends back at home when we returned and it was a fantastic night.

Our life together started twelve years ago and it was just the two of us.  Totally loved up and drunk on the idea of each other, we did what we wanted, when we wanted.  Drives down the Gold Coast for dinner were de rigeur throughout the working week.  Travelling away on weekends was also a regular for us.  But marriage as in most things in life, never stays the same.  Next week will mark five years since our little Polynesian Princess entered the fray and two years since Little Warrior came thundering into the family.  Dinners down the Goldie and weekends away are but a distant memory, replaced with bike rides to Southbank and take-away fish & chip dinners by the river.  Sheer family bliss.

Over the years we've grown.  Both as a couple and as individuals and luckily, we have grown together.   I'm still as in love with him today as I was ten years ago.

I love you honey.  Happy anniversary xxx

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Judgy Me



One Sunday whilst I was pregnant with our first child, The Architect and I were having a leisurely breakfast at Sassafrass (one of our favourite breakfast haunts).   A couple walked past pushing a pram, but they were carrying the baby.  So just to be clear - the pram was empty.  And I thought that was the stupidest thing I had ever seen.  I remember looking at The Architect and scoffing “did you see that?” “WHY have a friggin pram if you’re not going to put the bloody baby in it!”  He thought the same.  We both shook our heads at these crazy people.

And then we had the baby.  Oh God, we had the baby.  Sometimes the baby didn’t want to be in the pram.  Sometimes the baby just screamed and cried, back-arched and dry-retched until I was obliged to pick it up and... what do you know, I’m pushing a pram but carrying the baby!

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  Where’s your self-righteousness and judgment NOW lady?  Huh?  HUH?  It was at the moment that it clicked.  I had that ‘a-ha’ moment.  That moment when you think to yourself “OK.  I get it now...”

I’ve had a lot of those moments since we entered the world of parenting.  Too many to count, and no doubt there’ll be many more similar instances.  The difference will be that I know now.  I know that those parents (read: warriors) who go before me (into battle) know more than me.  They’re doing things for a reason.  That reason is: it works.  THIS works for us.

Like so much in life, it is so easy to sit in judgment when you’re not in the situation.  I got so much free advice from well-meaning people who didn’t have children.  And I wanted to just yell at each of them “I’m doing it this way because it works for us!”  There’s a little more clarity and understanding when you’re actually in the thick of it and living it.  Suddenly you have more empathy for those weary looking parents struggling with their energetic offspring whilst going about their daily lives.

I don’t recall this, but apparently I had made a comment to my mother about not letting my children watch television.  That thought alone sounds totally preposterous to me and I can’t believe I ever said any such thing.  But she is adamant.   In which case it would appear that I have done a complete about-face in the past few years as I let the kids watch TV everyday.  Gasp!  I know, I know.  I never thought I’d use the TV as an electronic babysitter, but I do.  And I make no apologies for it.  They love it.  Our whole family kneels at the altar of ABC2.  The Architect and I can get a sleep-in on the weekend and we’re all happy.  So sue me.

Another example is grocery shopping.  I could never understand how people could continue to do their grocery shopping with a screaming child in the trolley.  I mean, how do you DO that?  Can’t you hear that? Whenever I would witness these kinds of scenes, I could almost feel any semblance of maternal feelings ooze out of my acrylic nails and drip onto the floor, full of disdain.  I was smug in the knowledge that no kid of mine would ever behave like that!  No, never.

I am cackling now with maniacal laughter and you know that tears are just a tick-tock away.  My GOD how na├»ve could I be!  Obviously that whole attitude has disappeared, along with my acrylic nails.  My weekly grocery shop now involves Little Warrior standing (yes, standing) in the trolley seat with his arms wrapped around my neck like an anaconda.  Do you know how difficult it is to see when someone is squashing his little face into yours?  If I so much as hint that I’m going to try to sit him down, he will squeal so loud that you would think I’ve grabbed him by his almost two-year old gonads and yanked them back into my handbag.  All the while, I’ve got my iPhone clutched in one hand, reading the shopping list, and trying to steer the trolley with my wrists.  My WRISTS people!  Seriously.  Those things are hard enough to steer with two hands!  You get one dodgy wheel and it’s all over.

Then there’s threatening them with something and giving in.  You know what I’m talking about.  I used to think I would be the stoic and strong parent that laid down the rules and so shall they be!  All too often I would see parents threatening things that would never happen.  Stop that yelling or you won’t get a lolly.  I said stop.  I mean it.  You’re still yelling but here’s a lolly.  Judgey Me would scoff.  I knew what the problem was – you’ve got to stick with it!  They won’t know you’re serious unless you stick with the threat.  My God man, it’s basic Parenting 101.  Duh!!

What I didn’t realise was there’s a myriad of issues surrounding the threat.  Firstly, don’t threaten something that you don’t actually want to happen.  If you want to have a sleep today, don’t threaten to take away the movie at lunch.   Secondly, do you have the energy for this fight, because trust me, however much energy you’ve got, they’ve got ten times that amount.  They seem to have energy to burn. I thought I had a strong resolve.  Clearly I didn’t know strong until I met my own children.   Like water dripping on a rock, you get worn down and before you know it you’re unwrapping that Chupa Chupp and smiling weakly at the young girl behind you in line with the acrylic nails who’s staring disdainfully at you.

Don’t judge me.

One day this could be you.

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net