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The Super Average Mom

Figuring out mom-life one day at a time

“Parking’s a nightmare”

I’ve developed a kind of parking lot phobia. And it’s completely not-insane. You see I’m generally one of those lucky people who get a good parking near the entrance to the shopping mall, or wherever, probably because my kids are up at the crack of dawn so we get to places before more sensible humans are even awake. But here’s the problem…when we are leaving parking is filling up and people don’t like to walk 100 meters from their car to the entrance. But they are in a huge rush. Huuuuge rush.

What non-kid parkers do not understand is that I have two kids. That’s two small people that need to be forcibly restrained in car seats. And those things are tricky, the car seats I mean. Plus there’s the pram. All of my shopping is stashed in the basket below so it needs to be unpacked before the pram is folded up, then the pram goes in the boot, followed by packing all the shopping on top. It’s a logistical nightmare. Oh and then someone needs water, and I’m not skipping giving my kid a drink because a stranger wants to park where I currently am. No. Thirsty kids are angry kids.

I’ve always assumed that when someone sees a mom approaching their car with pram and kids in-tow they know it might take a while to leave the parking. Obviously not. When I had just moved to Australia, on the first day my husband started working, I had a parking lot incident. I was about 7 months pregnant and even though I was alone in a new place I decided to venture out with my then two year old to pass the day exploring the local shopping center. As I waddled back to my car a woman pulled up waiting to take my parking. I got my son into the car as fast as is pregnantly possible and packed in the pram and paraphernalia. The woman waiting must have felt I was not getting out of her desired parking with enough hustle because she started hurling insults at me. “Selfish bitch” was one of them (Oh really). This was a bit too much for overly hormonal pregnant me and what I would usually shrug off resulted in a “I’m in a new country I can’t do this” melt down when I got home. After that when someone wanted to take my parking I started to panic.

That’s until the wisdom of age, courtesy of my mom, stepped in. “As long as you’re in the parking it’s yours you can stay as long as you like. They can find another parking” was her advice when she saw me rushing to buckle the kids in. So this is what I now do – as soon as I see someone pull up I tell them I’m leaving, but not ANY time soon. I make sure they acknowledge what I’ve said. I’m not going to ruin my day and get frantic because they are too lazy to walk a bit. Once they’ve acknowledged this, the ball is in their court. They can go find another parking or sit and wait while frustratedly tapping their steering wheel. But that’s their deal. Am I bothered? No. Do I look bothered? No. Tap away dear impatient parker, tap away.

Mummy’s toy

My kids have lots of toys, too many in fact. The other day I filled two bags for donations with the stuff that irritates me and they still haven’t noticed anything is missing. But decluttering toys is a story for another day. I have my own toy, one, and it lives in their toy box masquerading as one of theirs. It’s a little stuffed purple man from the Pixar movie Inside Out and he’s brilliant.

My husband bought it for me one Mother’s Day because, well, he gets me. You see this stuffed purple guy, Fear, talks when you push his hand and I just love what he has to say…

“I’m having the worst day ever!”
“I regret everything!”
“Oh no!”
“Did you see the way they looked at me?!”
“They’re judging us”

Maybe it’s my sarcastic sense of humour but I find this guy hilarious. I cannot for the life of me think why someone decided this was an appropriate toy for kids, but for me it’s perfect for so many reasons. You see I think when you’re tired and things aren’t going to plan this can so easily become your internal monologue. You get frustrated and start telling yourself you’re having the worst day ever. You start listing in your head all the things that have gone wrong, and then suddenly you are having the worst day ever and you do regret everything. This used to be my daily internal monologue, but I’m so far from that now I can press that little purple dudes button and laugh.

Then there’s the days I’m not feeling on top of things. Like that day when I had 6 hours of interrupted sleep courtesy of baby, my toddler pooped in his nappy and it somehow fell out and squashed all down his leg and pyjama pants. And then I went to the wrong park for our play date. But apparently it was within walking distance and since I had managed to get now exhausted sleeping baby into the pram without waking him along with the nappy bag, picnic, jackets etc. I decided a nice stroll with my toddler wouldn’t hurt. 20 mins and two kilometres later and still not there I decided to turn around and walk back to the car. Pick your battles.

On these days it helps to have where my thoughts are headed repeated back to me by a small purple man. Coming out of his mouth they sound a bit ridiculous, because maybe they are. I’m not having the worst day ever, I do not regret everything and they are not judging us. Ok maybe they are, but I really don’t give a shit, I’m stingy like that.

If you can’t see it, maybe you need to stand on your head

When I meet a grandmother in the park with her grandchild I’ve pretty much nailed down the art of knowing whether it is her daughter’s or daughter-in-law’s child. If granny announces “I’ve got her for the day, her mother works” beaming with happiness and pride, it’s her daughter’s child. If she says it like she accidentally took a bite of kiddo’s cookie that they just dropped in the sand, well it’s her son’s child and her daughter-in-law is at work.

This is a major generalisation on my part but it’s true 90% of the time, and my made-up stats don’t lie. You see granny number one is utterly proud that her daughter is a modern, independent, working woman juggling it all and is thrilled that she has some time with her grandchild. But granny number two, whilst just as happy to have some alone time, is utterly devastated that her son’s wife hasn’t given up her career to stay home with the child “like I did back in my day”. Hmm…perspective.

I have a shirt that says ‘stay weird’ and it’s my absolute favourite. The slogan is printed upside down so that when I look down I can read it. The other day I was grabbing a cup of coffee from the petrol station when the guy at the machine in front of me said “hey the writing on your shirt is upside down!”. I looked down, looked back up at him and responded “it looks the right way up to me”. You would think I had just told this guy the answer to the universe. He looked a bit shocked and stared at me speechless for a while before finally saying “I suppose that’s right isn’t it” and walked away shaking his head to himself. Funny how where you’re standing can change the view.

As mothers we are all met with daily criticism. Everyone thinks things should be done their way. Everyone knows best. And while I do hold firm beliefs on certain parenting issues (and I really do know best) lets just put this stay at home mom versus working mom issue to rest. If you have decided to stay at home to devote all the waking hours of your life to your kids, good for you. You’re a wonderful mom. And if you work because you need to put food on the table/want to give your kids the best of everything or just need to have an adult life outside of your home, good for you. You’re a wonderful mom. And if someone can’t see it that way maybe they should stand on their head.

Cafés I’m too Yuccie (no really yucky) to go to

We’ve all heard of the hipster, and I KNOW we are all tired of their bearded faces and ‘don’t care’ attitude. But apparently there’s a new breed of millennial in town, the ‘Yuccie’. I don’t like them already. The Yuccie, or young urban creative, is a yuppie hipster hybrid with family money and a good education who has thrown aside the shackles of society and taken up a creative job in, I don’t know, natural hemp macramé weaving. And they get paid well to do it. They are too cool to be hipster, a step ahead of the pack. Call me jealous but get a boring job, like seriously.

My problem is this…I am a mom. All. Day. Long. And all these new cultural trends do is spawn cafés I would really like to go to, but can’t. Yes I appreciate cutting edge food, there’s nothing better than exciting things you’ve never tried. I am a coffee enthusiast, it fuels the tired mom-me. And I love taking inspiration from their avant-garde decor. But my kids are still little, they go where I go, and seriously there is nothing fun about watching their attempts to trash the place. These cafés are not kid friendly.

Yes some are gracious enough to provide a high chair or a dingy room masquerading as a play area, but this is how it will go down…I will enter said café feeling optimistic. There’s a queue backing out the door but I stand in it while my son tries to pull down the pretty tassel edged skirt of the lady in front of us and my toddler tries to escape from my grip by lunging himself at the floor. I persist and give my son my phone. I will get my rainbow cronut pretzel salted bagel whatever. I order chips and baby chinos as well. It’s going to be great. Once we get to our table my son proceeds to try dig up the organic veggie garden (free starters anyone?) and climb their rusted antique scale ‘decor’. The food hasn’t arrived yet so I resort to feeding them the crackers and musli bars stashed in my bag, much to the disapproval of trendy waitstaff. My son whips down his pants and pees on their tree (true story) and now I’m laughing hysterically at the reality that is motherhood. When our order finally arrives my kids have no interest in the chips that are covered in truffle infused salt and mush them onto every surface within reach before hurling them towards the floor. I gulp down my expensive now-cold coffee and take two bites of my food before getting out of there.

When I mentioned to my younger (and much trendier) cousin that I had been to a certain café on the weekend her response was ‘How did you know about that place?!’ Look once I used to be slightly interesting and did a few cool things. Once hubby and I ate what we later discovered was monkey from a pop-up restaurant in Mauritius, before there were such things as pop-up restaurants. Once we stayed up all night drinking resinated wine with diamond traders in Mykonos (don’t do it). Once we swam with baby sharks in the Maldives, no not an organised shark-cage dive, there were just sharks in the water.

It’s not that I don’t know shit anymore, it’s just that with kids sometimes it’s too damn difficult. So if you’re looking for us, for the foreseeable future at least, you’ll find us at the super-cool Macdonalds. I’ll be the one sipping cheap coffee and eating leftover chicken nuggets. Because Ronald was wearing dungarees before all of us, right?!

The Douche Debacle

Hubby and I were watching a particularly heated episode of The Block. One contestant was angry things weren’t going to plan and was shouting at another. He seemed to have a tendency to not take responsibility for his actions, talk down to others and expect everyone else to accommodate his needs over their own. Hubby turns to me and says “do you think people are born douches or become them?” Good question!

The nature versus nurture debate has been going on forever. I’m no psychologist but raising tiny humans has opened my eyes to a thing or two and here’s my take…we are all born douches.

Now before you assume my kids are little monsters, they are not, they are lovely people. My 3 year old is sharing and considerate and kind. But was he born that way? No. He was born a baby. Haha I kid you not. And babies are, well, douches.

Babies have a lot of needs, and they expect you to meet them. They are not considerate. Their baby-brain does not think ‘mom is tired maybe I should sleep through the night instead of waking every hour’. Nope. Their needs are the only thing that enters their mind. Babies are not sharing. You will never see a baby unlatch from a breastfeed to offer some milk around. That’s theirs. They have no empathy. You won’t see a baby stop shouting for a snack because they feel bad mom hasn’t eaten all day, if mom’s a crying mess on the floor they don’t think ‘shame maybe I should give her a break’. And that’s the other thing. They have no problem screaming at whoever will listen to get their way. But that’s just being a baby and we accept this.

So this is what leads me to the thought that just maybe we are all born douches. Over time we learn to share. We learn to think of others. We learn to stop shouting and use our words. And some of us don’t. Some of us are just big babies throwing a tantrum because we didn’t get our own way.

So the next time your kid is lying on the floor screaming because their banana isn’t blue, try picture them as a grown adult lying on the floor doing the same thing, take a deep breath, and remember you’re helping them grow out of being a douch.

How to teach your kids not to share

I think it was Stephen Cobert who I heard say it, “the Muppets are radical Marxists!” I laughed at the time, I didn’t have kids then. But now it’s got me thinking…

Yes sharing is great, it is ingrained in us to teach our children to share, but we also live in a Capitalist society. Surely we have to draw the line somewhere?
We have a rule in our house – if you take a toy to a public play area you have to share it. Parks are for everyone, so if my kids take their toys along and leave them lying on the ground they are fair game. And they are pretty good about it.

A few weeks back my son took a digger along to the park. Someone wanted to play with it and he kindly handed it over, he was more interested in climbing. But about half an hour later just about everyone had played with his digger except him, and he wanted it back. He went and asked the kid who had it and when he said ‘no’ my son’s friend (he could learn a thing or two from her about assertiveness) said ‘its his he wants it back’ and retrieved it for my son. The kid’s mom saw this and stepped in saying ‘he’s playing with that now you can have it when he’s done’.

Wait a minute. Yes we like to teach our kids to share but as adults would we consider this normal? If a stranger wanted to borrow our car would we be ok with it? If we said ‘no I need it to get to work’ would a ‘you’ve got to learn to share mate’ be acceptable? I’m really non-confrontational, I wanted to say ‘let him have it for a bit’ but the mom in me knew that this was unjust for my son. He had shared well, he did not know the kid, and at the end of the day it was his. After an awkward silence she mumbled about not knowing it was his and relented. I felt awful but my son looked relieved.

The situation reminds me of another maybe 8 years ago when my own mother had just started fostering a little girl. She had walked into a store’s play area with a box of those things you throw and they pop. Two boys had approached her and demanded she share with them. Growing up in a children’s home she was no stranger to asserting herself and told the two much older kids ‘no’. They raced to my mom shouting ‘she won’t share with us’ beaming with entitlement. My mom, in her years of experience mothering, didn’t miss a beat telling them ‘she doesn’t know you, she doesn’t have to share’! I didn’t have kids yet but I instinctively knew something big had just gone down. Our little girl who didn’t have anything of her own at that time, who had to share everything, needed to know that it was ok not to share more than those boys needed what she had.

With so much parenting advice out there you would think that we would have all the answers. But real life isn’t written on paper. Sometimes you have to listen to your gut, go against the parenting advice en-vogue, and do the non-p.c. thing. Sometimes you have to admit that just maybe the Muppets are radical Marxists.

Featured post

How to write a ‘done list’ for moms

When I mentioned the title of this article to my husband he laughed. He doesn’t get it, this is serious business. You see as a SAHM your days are filled with endless work whilst achieving very little perceivable progress. You can clean up the post meal catastrophe that is feeding a child and pick up a few toys only to find it’s time to feed them, AGAIN! Your to-do list never gets done and you start to feel disheartened.

I’ve come up with a new strategy – the ‘done list’. You don’t have to do anything on it because you already have with the added bonus of feeling like you’re winning as a parent and are super organised. Here’s how to write yours…

1. Start with the basics. Did you bath your kids? Did you feed them breakfast, second breakfast, tea, lunch, snack, dinner? See your list is getting impressive already

2. Add in some house work. If you half packed the dishwasher while holding a baby that counts as a productive effort. Washing can be divided into spot treating, washing, hanging, taking down and folding. That’s four separate items if you’ve managed one load of washing! You’re a super mom.

3. List some feel good items. If you stopped to blow some bubbles or read them a book (even if you skipped the pages in the middle) they loved it and you are great. Write it down. If you walked to the shop to get a coffee they got sunshine and exercise. If you went to the park because they were driving you insane they got social interaction. If you needed five damn minutes they practised independent play.

4. List some me-time. Let’s be real, there’s not much of that going as a mom but if you brushed your hair/put on fresh clothes you’re still trying. Making yourself food counts too. Heck eating the kids leftovers works as a clean up and me time item in one.

5. Add in something you did for your partner or a friend. If you matched his socks it was a gesture of love. A text to a friend means you took time because you care, even if it was a rant about aforementioned missing socks.

6. End on a high note. Think of something you got to you wouldn’t normally. If you threw away a broken toy (because you stood on it) that works as de cluttering. If you posted a photo of your kids on Instagram you’ve worked towards building your personal brand. I think you’ve got the picture.

Now wait for the kids to go to sleep, sit back with a drink, and marvel at your ‘done list’ and the productiveness of your day. You’re awesome.

Goldilocks and the three (pairs)

I feel like I’m living in a fairytale right now, and not in a good way. I’m not sleeping beauty, I haven’t got a full nights sleep in over three years so her situation sounds great right about now. And I’m not Cinderella either. Although I do clean all day there’s no fairy god mother with a makeover in sight and I already have my Prince Charming. No, right now I’m living an episode of goldilocks and the three bears, wardrobe edition, and my pants are too big, too small, and seldom just right.

Being a woman and managing to dress yourself is complicated to begin with. Weight fluctuations make it harder. Damn hard. Throw in the havoc having children wreaks on your body and you are left with the dismal situation of ‘I’ve got nothing to wear’.

Thanks to two beautiful boys and a weight gain of around 30kgs during my first pregnancy my closet is now made up of 3 types of pants…

The too big – these are dangerous territory, you see, because when you are feeling lazy they look ever so comfortable. The problem here is that a few hours into the day they are falling off my now-not-pregnant butt and having to yank up your pants every time you bend down to pick up a child can turn into a sleep deprivation induced, irritation fuelled rage. Why won’t my damn pants stay on. Fml.

The too small – aah the days when you thought you were fat but really now you wish you were ‘that fat’. My size 8 pre baby skinny jeans mock me from the hanger bringing back memories of times when I could throw them on and ‘pop out for a drink’ without months of pre-planning. Now they waste my time by getting in the way of things I could actually be wearing while my toddler screams ‘where we going?!’

The just right – oh if I could write an ode to these rare gems. The ones that are tight enough to stay up without creating bulges that require a tent-like top to disguise. The ones that are decent enough looking to wear out but comfortable enough not to make you angry. These pants are so few and far between and I am damn sick of spending ten minutes of my morning, which equates to half an hour in normal person without kids time, looking through the others to find them.

But fear not. I have a solution for my fellow long (pants) suffering moms. In the immortal words of queen elsa – “let it gooooo” (sings loudly). I’m going minimalist. I’m throwing out all of the too big too small nonsense. I’m done having kids and I hope I never fit the too big pants without a baby bump so best remove the temptation to wear them. And the too small, well if I’m ever that size again you will be damn sure I deserve the reward of a new pants shopping spree. By the time I fit them we will all be wearing high waisted bell bottoms again anyway. So all the pants in my closet will fit me just right. And I’m pretty sure this will save me hours of my life. Who’s with me? ‘Let it goooo…’ (further loud singing as she throws away pants)

Welcome, let me tell you a funny story…

Once upon a time I was me. I thought I knew myself, what I wanted and what I would and wouldn’t do. Oh and I thought I was busy and tired. Then hubby and I came up with this bright idea…let’s have a baby! (Cue laughter)

I am an only child. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I just knew I wanted some of that baby-love everyone went on about. We eventually fell pregnant and I launched into research mode. I read the obligatory pregnancy books and went to antenatal classes, I knew everything you could know about being pregnant and giving birth. I had a birth plan, natural and drug free, and a nursery featured on Disney’s blog. But on the 14th of June 2013, when my first baby was placed in my arms one month early via emergancy caesarian, something dawned on me…I had made a major oversight. I knew everything I could about being pregnant but I was no longer pregnant and I knew nothing about being a mother. I didn’t even know how to change a nappy.

Fast forward and I am now the proud mommy of two little chaos creators whom I love dearly. I don’t have everything figured out, I probably never will, but I finally feel comfortable in my mommying. And I have a lot of opinions. A lot.

So if you like reading crap on the internet you’ve come to the right place! Pour yourself a glass of wine (or bottle), lock yourself in the toilet, and follow me on my crazy path of trying to be a mom.

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