Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Oh For Goodness' Sake, Not Another Mummy Blogger!

I know about 'mummy bloggers'. Mm-hmm. I used to have a google reader full of them. I would log on each day to read about their shiny-faced antics, just to get my quota of un-realism, my cup of morning guilt, washed down with some incredibly huge self-expectations and the accompanying side dish of failure.

Even worse, are the earth-mummy bloggers. These are the ones who seem to float through the day to the sounds of folk music wafting from their stereo, their homemade-linen-clothes-clad-children sitting at the table playing with their piece of rope and the wooden blocks that their father carved out of a felled branch, until their serene, tranquil mother glides past with a plateful of wholemeal muffins made from the flour they ground by hand that morning. They have no need for TV, their days are full of one meaningful, nature-based activity followed by another. They have no need for yelling, as their children are able to manage their emotions and behaviour with just the smallest amount of loving, gentle guidance from their ever-patient parents. They don't have bad days, they have 'high-energy' days that are easily overcome with some independant, creative play, bringing everyone back down to a quiet, harmonious rhythm.

I'm not sure what else goes in to those wholemeal muffins of theirs but I have tried this way of life, and I can tell you my days still did not look like that. I even ground my own flour. It did not make me tranquil.

I still share some life values with these earthy hippy mamas but I have come to realise that either they are full of shit, or I am doing it wrong. Where they exude serenity (and somehow look gorgeous naked).....

.... I only manage to look like a haggard, washed out, not-so-much-serene-as-unconscious mother of three.

So, whilst I may indeed be yet another bloody mummy blogger, my hope is that I can do it without inducing guilt in any mother reading. Pity, perhaps, but not guilt.

Graffiti For The Soul.

I had a bad day today. This happens more frequently than I would like. I had big plans to keep the kids engaged, happy, creatively entertained. Painting pottery, sensory table activities, helping me with chores (they are still at the age where this is 'fun'.)

Then, they turned on me. Ambushed me. Things went from calm and happy to mutinous in a heartbeat. The trigger (a simple request: clean your play area, then we will start painting) was pulled, the stage was set. They caught each others' eyes, a signal passed between them, war was declared. The following three hours left me cowering in fear, rocking in the foetal position, completely and utterly beaten. The Dad was called home from work, 'discipline' was dished out, toys confiscated ('thrown in the bin'), privileges withdrawn. All this was met with indifference, approval even. ("That's ok, Mum, some other little girl can HAVE my toys. I don't mind.")

The pre-schoolers won. They always win.

Parenting books lie. They say that children are not our enemy, they do not misbehave to 'get at us'. That they are not manipulative. They lie. My children are experts in the arts of war. They know when to fight, when to submit, when to cry, when to yell. They know my weaknesses, have studied them intensively over their short lives, know how to use them to their advantage. All my tactics are rendered useless in the face of this seemingly innocent army, this grubby faced, determined opponent.

My children may not be my enemy. But they sure as hell act like it.

Blogging is like graffiti for the soul, an act of rebellion and selfishness in the daily grind of parenting. Your home may be peaceful and calm, it may be a den of conflicting strong personalities like mine. Whatever it is, step inside my bubble and either commiserate wholeheartedly with me or marvel at how one mother could continually get it so, so wrong.