Today I have had two conversations with people that inspired today's blog post.
One involved a new mumma to a 4 week old bubby. We were having the conversation about grabbing a moments rest in the busy day of being a mother. Particularly challenging when your baby doesn't sleep much during the day. And the other a gorgeous new friend from kinder. Both conversations brought up the issue of being a good parent and the inevitable comparisons that we tend to make when we look at other parents we meet.
It took me back to my first baby and how I was so scared to leave the precious bubby for more than 5 minutes to have a shower for fear of somehow neglecting the poor child and damaging his prospects of fulfilling his potential because he was pyschologically damaged from my neglect! What the?????!!!!! Clearly sleep deprivation sets the tone for irrational decision making early on in the piece.
In fact I was reminiscing about how I couldn't stand the crying so much that I would get out of the shower before I had even rinsed the shampoo out and spend the rest of the day with shampoo in my hair! Looking good! What was I thinking? Not alot clearly......
And now five babies down the track...... how do I react to my crying baby? "Well excuse me bubby but I need to shower, blow dry and GHD my hair - oh and paint my face- before you can have my attention!"
...........aaaah but that is where the magic happens......
On my return the bubby has inevitably, magically fallen asleep.
Some may say (or feel) this is neglect - as I most certainly felt with my first child. Now I call it reality.
As parents we give ourselves a hard time about every descision we make. And mothers especially tend to fall into the pattern of thinking of everyone else's needs before ourselves and acting in accordance. If we think about this just a little bit- it's not a great pattern to be modelling to our children is it?
It's good to put ourselves first sometimes.
I am totally guilty of putting myself last pretty much ALL the time. I am trying ever so hard to put myself first just some of the time. It is not something that comes easily to me at all. Let's call it a New Years resolution- only it's not new year (although damn it i wish this year was over!) .........and I hope unlike most new years resolutions that this one last a little longer than a couple of days!
What I have gotten better at since I have had more children is letting things go a little.
Like not running to a crying child at the very first instance.
Like not succumbing to every single request that every child demands of me for fear that I will somehow damage their prospects for a fulfilled life ahead because they are pyschologically damaged from me saying no to their ridiculous demands for lollies at 8 oclock at night!
Like having weetbix for dinner every now and then so you can have a rest.
Some people have this idea of me being a Supermum. WRONG!
If being a supermum means having a tidy house, all the laundry done, folded and put away, dinner planned, always in a good mood, never dreaming of another job and never getting frustrated at the kids- then as my kids would say "epic fail"!
Click here to go to a previous post to get my feelings on all that kind of unhealthy perfection.
I'm so not a Supermum and then some.......I have bad days where the chaos is a little more out of control than others, days when I wish I was skulling vodka at 10am, days where I wish the laundry was under control, days where I yell at the kids for totally unreasonable reasons......
I have learnt to choose my battles. My fourth child has been a challenge- all of you that know him understand! He has basically made it impossible for me to go anywhere except the necessary places. Wherever we went he would either scream or run away. Delightful. He has been labelled the human tornado- for obvious reasons. Sitting still is not in his genetic makeup and for a just turned 4yo he can run like the wind- and usually straight into oncoming traffic. Awesome- NOT!
I had to decide for my own sanity how to deal with this. For me it meant basically not going out during the day. I had to learn that this wasn't a punishment for me being a bad parent but just the best way to deal with a very difficult child. I just couldn't stand the judgmental glares anymore. Behind all this difficult behaviour lies one of the most wonderful personalities.
I learnt to make it work in my favour and to stop giving myself a hard time. It's just the way it is. It's ok- as long as I don't compare myself to other people. That is the tricky part.
It's normal. Normal in a healthy way to have a balance of days where we feel ok about things and days where we feel crap about things too.
Let's all give ourselves a break and simplify things a little. Lower the bar. My theory is that if I have low expectations I have far fewer failures.
Sometimes neglecting things a little gives us benefits that we would otherwise not have received. It's not all bad.
My garden has suffered a whole lot of neglect over winter. I normally grow a winter vegie crop but other things took priority for me this year and the vegie bed got left to go wild.
Some plants (like children) benefit from being left to their own devices a little.
I planted a solitary horseradish plant just over 2 years ago and it has THRIVED. I normally harvest quite alot of it after winter to contain it- it notoriously takes over the garden.
It is a beautiful plant growing enormous green foliage during spring/summer that dies off over winter. A member of the Brassica group of plants- really probably my favourite veg are in this group- cabbage, mustard, broccoli etc.
When winter ended I was keen to harvest some of the delectable roots to make various horseradish wonders.
Here are the roots after harvest.
Once they'd had a good scrub I blitzed them and added a little vinegar, vinegar and salt to taste.
The aroma is divine- but be careful not to inhale too fast......it's potent stuff!
It looks really pretty........
.......and keeps for months in a jar in the fridge.
Today I added some to Japanese mayo and had it on some toasted sourdough with pork rillettes & fresh aragula from the garden (another plant that loves a bit of neglect!) It was DIVINE! Simple delicious food at it's best.
Next on my to do list is to make up some beetroot and horseradish like I find at my local Russian providore and to make my own pork rillettes- food of the gods!
I have found this great blog that has a recipe...click here to take a look! Tell me that does not look divine!
Mine are via my latest order from the wonderful Bruny Island Cheese company. Click here to look at their beautiful website. Truly magnifique!
So let's all promise each other to "neglect" a little and practise putting ourselves first for a bit........and see if we survive and thrive a little as a result!