Posts tagged motherhood
Workaholism

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I don't really want to talk.  Or cook. Or write. Or wipe noses or floors, do the dishes, play "choo choo", read stories, sing songs, go to playgroups or to the park.  I do not want to make play dough or cake or dinner or lunch or breakfast or second breakfast.  I do not want to pay the bills or listen to the crying.  I do not want to give baths or brush hair or change nappies or tackle the mountain of laundry.

The interuptions that come at 5 minute intervals send me snappy and on edge.  I wish I could say that the 6,000 lego spaceship of the day was more interesting than a new design or the need of a 10 month old to be held all day long was as fufilling.

But, its not.  They aren't.  

I love them.  I love their little noses and blue eyes.  I love their funny laughs and their messy hair.  The way Georgia says "Thchoo -Thchoo" instead of "Choo Choo".  The way Ellis says "I got it from my brain" when congratulated on a good idea.  The way Theo gives open mouth kisses on demand.  I love them so much...

But the constant pull is there.  I want to be with them, but I want to be working or not even working, just doing something else. Something that is wholly me and not someone else.

And then, that means that I end up doing most things badly.  Half-attention and stolen moments are not the way to do anything well from designs to laundry.

And so today, I will not be working.  I will put it down and draw a line under it so that the talking, cooking, writing, wiping of noses and floors, doing of the dishes, playing "choo choos", the washing of laundry and all of the other things I *need* to do can get done well and without shouting or crying...

...plus we've run out of underwear.

 

*pictured: Texere Chunky Wool

Motherhood

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Nothing has surprised me more about being a mother of two children than the love Ellis has for his baby sister.

From the minute she was born, he has done nothing but dote upon her.  She is the first thing he asks for in the morning and the only required kiss at night.

The other day, we were at playgroup.  Whilst I sat with a few friends with Georgia on my lap, Ellis came tearing across the room.  "My baby! My Georgia!" He cried.  He ran up to her and gave her a cuddle.  He then tore back across the room to his friends. "Come see my Georgia!  That's my baby" he said as he dragged his gaggle of 3 year olds over to us.

You know that scene in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas where the Grinch's heart went up a couple sizes?

I didn't know it was possible to love two little people so much...and then to see the two of them fall in love as well...almost too much for a mama to bear.

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Someone Else's Groove
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Step into my house at 10am, and you will see a picture of domestic bliss.  The house will be reasonably tidy.  My children will be laughing and playing.  I will be the world's best mother.  There might even be a baked good for your consumption.

Step into the same scene at 4 in the afternoon and the view would be vastly different.  Toys strewn everywhere. Dishes piled in the sink. Someone will be crying and its a one in three chance that someone could be me.

I am not good at being of service all day, every day.  Stumbling down the stairs in the morning to cries of "I'm hungry", then to be followed by endless cycles of nappy changes, feedings, meal and snack preparation, play, laundry, groceries, errands...I find it very tiring, very long and exceedingly dull.

In my family, rightly or wrongly, I am the one that provides the flexibility.  I slot into all of the jobs and situations that no one else wants to or can do. I am the fluid one, who helps fill the cracks of everyone else. Not to say, I don't get taken care of in other ways, but my job at the minute is to be of service in the variety of ways my family needs.

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Kevin comes home and a baby is thrust in his arms.  I may not be good at the relentlessness of caring for small children, but I am GREAT at sulking.  I stomp upstairs, throw myself down on my bed and glower at no one in particular.  

And here is the thing...I can see it coming. It happens most days - be it at home, at work, with my family. I am an introvert.  I need time to be quiet and do as I wish.  As my friend, Rebecca, wrote so eloquently, "I'm just someone who needs time and space in my house and in my brain, quiet and freedom to move as I wish,...depending on the day." I can fit into someone else's groove for only so long, before I must bust out.

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After my small toddler-like tantrum, I can hear giggles wafting up the stairs.  A cup of tea is thrust forward as a peace offering by a 3 year old messenger.  He is scooped up into bed with me and we laugh and talk and I am back in my role and happy.

Sometimes, its just a moment I need to recharge...sometimes its more.  Ideally, I wouldn't get hit those low levels in the first place and of course, some days I don't. One of the thoughts that I come back to time and again, is that women being left alone with small children all day is a recent phenomenon.  We used to have family or other women around to share the enormous responsibility. 

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I wish I could make it all look effortless...No, I actually wish it could be effortless.  But its not.  We are a wildly happy, chaotic, crazy and sometimes ever so slightly destructive family with a wildly happy, chaotic, crazy, sometimes ever so slightly destructive mother. 

So probably perfectly normal then.  

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I wrote this post and then say that Day 5's prompt for Creativity Boot Camp is Fluid.  How very very apt.

Where I Find Inspiration

For Day 4 of Creativity Boot Camp, our word was 'heavy metal'.

heavy metal

heavy metal

We were also asked to take our cameras out and look for inspiration in our outside world. As I don't drive, my path takes me along the same long road over the bridge and through the leafy road along the river. Walking everywhere, especially when accompanied by a toddler means that I have many an opportunity to take inspiration along the way. Combined with the garden and the parks in our village, I realised that the vast majority of my inspiration comes from the things I see everyday and the time I have to reflect when we are walking and both children are content.

inspiration

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1. Every morning, I head out for a few minutes in the garden with my coffee.  I love those quiet moments, checking the peas, strawberries, pumpkins and other veg.  Summer is such an amazing time and I love to see what is happeneing and gather my thoughts for the day.

2. As we wander down the street, we pass a red phone box.  A RED PHONE BOX.  I love photographing this stalwart of British design. It remains one of those visual cues that reminds me that I am somewhere special.

3. The river. As it changes with the seasons and the tide. Crossing it on foot everyday gives a sense of adventure to going out...like the village is surrounded by a moat.  Crossing it in the other direction means we are almost home.  And while its ecosystem may not be thriving, the colours, textures, openness and wildlife that inhabit its sluggish waters are all a wonderful breathing space from the business of everyday life.   

4. Puddles.  There is one particularly low dip along our journey.  Usually filled with water.  Always jumped in.  Often photographed.

5. & 10. Stirling is a university town.  While this brings some vibrancy to the city, it also brings a lot of rental and unkempt housing.  As we wander a long the road, we walk past a range of overgrown gardens.  These two are my favourite.  5. has this HUGE posy bush that I look at longingly every time I pass, often taking pictures when they finally bloom.  10. has a red front door that matches the red poppies growing amongst the gravel and rubbish. I love finding beauty in unusual places.  I love the contrasts of it.  I love the unexpectedness. 

6, 7, 11. Red Shoes.  OK.  These are not in the natural world, but red shoes have the amazing ability to make any ground shot interesting.  Plus they make me unbelievably happy.

8 & 9. after the slightly run down rental housing, we come to a row of villas.  They all have beautiful gardens, mature trees and sit above the river, looking out over the fields.  As I walk through this section, I always feel incredibly calm (and slightly jealous).

12. The Abbey.  Through every season, the abbey is the background to our lives and photographs.

Of course, I still get inspiration from the web, from my friends, from books and from other desperate sources, but as I walked with my camera yesterday, I realised that living life at pavement level plays a big role in my own creativity.  It is my time to think, to observe and to reflect...rare gifts in the world of mothering small children. That time to pull it all together probably plays a bigger role than any one thing, even my red shoes.

Where do you find inspiration?

Note to Self

Dear Me,

Please remember, at the moments:

when you actually think that you may completely lose your mind and drop your (almost) 3 year old off at a rehoming centre,

when he stands on the bridge for 45 minutes refusing to either go forward or back,

when he fights every time he needs a change of clothes or nappy, 

when he wants to listen to the same Thomas the Tank Engine audio book over and over all day long and calls Nina Simone, "rubbish",

when he, in the 5 minutes it takes for you to go upstairs and deposit a laundry basket on the bed, climbs up onto the kitchen counter, turns on the taps, overflows the sink, empties a full litre of milk onto the counter and is trying to climb out the window onto the rubbish bins,

that you love him.

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That he makes you laugh.

That you miss him when he is not with you.

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That he makes everything adventurous.

That he is very sweet and cuddly and will not always be so.

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That his desire to help, really does outweigh his capability to create chaos.

That he is ridiculously cute.

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and then put on Thomas (again), make yourself a cup of tea and remind yourself that the rehoming centre actually has been redeveloped into new houses.  So, for better or worse, the two of you are in this together.   

Love,

Your Self