Packing to Go

20160723_154304I am busy packing for a trip to Australia to see my family.  It’s just me and the kids going, we are trusting Hubby to look after the garden, the dog, the hamster and to keep the house clean <insert hysterical panicked laughter here>.

Now for a list ticking, control freak like me – packing is wrought with anxiety.

For example…..

  1. Weather – I have been checking everyday what it will be like, have I got enough warm stuff? Will we actually find it cold? It’s winter there, but warmer than our summer – so confusing.
  2. I can’t just pack in one day and be finished. This drives me nuts!  I want to just do it and be done with it and tick my lists.  But of course you are still using things that can only be packed at the last minute – what if I forget at the last minute? ARGH!
  3. The washing – making sure everything is washed. Hiding it from the children, so they don’t wear it. Then been given a white t-shirt that they really want to take, but you did a white wash yesterday and you won’t have enough to do a white wash before you go, so you wear all your white clothes for the next couple of days, so you can do a white wash, because you would never ever put a white t-shirt in a dark wash – see stressed!!!!
  4. Hubby doesn’t understand what I am stressing about – he thinks you just get up on the day you leave and pack at the last minute. But all the stuff I have been buying gradually over the past few months and adding to the suitcase next to my bed – this takes planning and forethought.  Things like medication, sunscreen, presents, toiletries, holiday knickers etc. etc. – planning!!!
  5. Kids going to their suitcases and adding useless things. Or worse taking out what you have packed for them.
  6. Weight – spreading it evenly – so the kids have a bottle of whisky and a bottle of gin in their bags (presents for parents by the way, I am not a lush!)
  7. Technology makes it so much harder. The night before everything will be charging – camera battery, laptop, phones, tabs, dongles.  Then I have to make sure I enough chargers and adaptors – sigh.
  8. Daughters hand luggage consists of a neck pillow and large floppy bunny (called Floppy funnily enough!) and a large Zebra pillow. And if she thinks I will end up carrying it, she has another thing coming.
  9. I have so many pretty shoes and pretty dresses.  Do I pick the shoes first and match the dresses to them?  Or do I pick the dresses first and end up packing 20 pairs of shoes?  And how many 1950’s dresses can I take and is a red tulle petticoat too much?
  10. And what colour nail varnish do I put on? – it must match my dresses.  The decisions!!!!!

It will be fine on the way to the airport, because it will be done, it will be finished, all my lists will be ticked.  But until then, I am in a bit of a dither and have lots of lists and keep checking and rewriting my lists.  I am working 10 days straight to be able to do this holiday and stressing out in my dithering panic – so I think by the time I get on that plane I will promptly fall into a 24-hour sleep and ignore my children the whole way – so be warned anyone flying to Australia soon – we may be your worse nightmare!

When I get back (don’t expect any posts for a bit), I promise to write about why in the photo with this post, my bedroom walls seem to made of spaceship lining and my floor of woodchip – the joys of an unfinished house and DIY hell.

See you soon, my lovely ones xxxx

Stamping on My Children’s Dreams

holly2My baby girl wants to be famous – oh and rich.  A couple of years ago, we thought this was a phase, so pretty much ignored it.

She has not grown out of this phase and it is the topic of conversation EVERY day.  Now I am pretty strong when it comes to pester power, but it has become a little bit wearing on my soul.

It’s not that I don’t want her to become rich and famous – because that would be lovely, she could maybe pay the mortgage off.  But I don’t want my gorgeous girl to be hurt, disillusioned, and disappointed, because let’s face it, the chances are pretty slim.

This is a really, really hard thing to do as a parent.  You want to say to them to reach for the stars – but you also don’t want them to grow up as embittered adults, realising that life is actually a pretty hard slog, most of the time and the stars are usually unreachable.  It’s such a fine line.

That is why I have been trying to teach her to focus on the small good things that happen every day and to cherish the things she has already.  But I do want her to reach for the stars too – you never know she may be the one to get there.  ARGH!!!!

Well, then all the talk about being rich and famous became a bit more serious. And a bit more dangerous.  We found her trying to set up a YouTube channel.  I put a stop to that right away – she is only 10 and I’m not sure she could cope with the haters and trolls.

I suggested she wait till her teeth were fixed (sticky out front teeth) – she said that is not what a proper actress is about, it’s about your whole presence!  Oh dear – she was right.

Then the final straw was catching her filling in forms for online acting agencies (scams!)  I lost the plot.  And she lost the plot back too and screamed at me that I shouldn’t stamp on her dreams!

Well that floored me….

I felt dreadful…..

And she was right, I shouldn’t.

So with the help of a friend, we found a real modelling and acting agency that specialises in children.  We sent an email.  They sent an application form back.  She filled it all in and I sent it off.  We then got an email saying that they had received 1000’s of applications and they would get back to us.

I honestly thought that was it, we wouldn’t hear back.  But I had made the effort and felt relieved.

BUT then we heard back and she was asked to attend an audition!!  Oh my!!!  And it was the day after our huge biannual BBQ with 60 people coming and buckets of PIMMS to be drunk.  OH MY!!! But I had promised and off to London we went (with a throbbing headache it must be said!).

She had been asked to prepare a 1-minute piece off by heart.  I didn’t think she would be focused enough to do this.  But lo and behold, in two days she could rattle off, with expression, a piece from Harry Potter.  I started freaking out a bit at this point – maybe this is the right thing for her after all.

Well anyway, after 2 hours travelling, we ended up at a little theatre.  I thought it would be a massive place with 100’s of children.  But there were only 10 of them.  OH MY!!!  And off she went, without a glance back at me, a skip in her step and disappeared for an hour.

She came out glowing, bubbling and nearly floating off the floor.  She didn’t stop chattering for the whole 2-hour trip home (and yes my head was still throbbing!)  She said she wasn’t the best, but she was definitely wasn’t the worse.  She said she felt really confident and spoke clearly with lots of expression and looked everyone in the eyes.  She was really good at all the little acting exercises they asked her to do and she loved it.  OH MY!

She has said that she might not get asked to join, but she learnt heaps and wants to try again.  We haven’t heard yet back from the agency, but we have promised to keep going and look for other agencies if we have to.  She is so determined and so confident and so bloody persistence, we have no choice really and I can’t stamp on her dreams anymore, because she does deserve to reach the stars.

Motherhood Guilt

mugAs I mentioned in a previous post, these last weeks of school are manic.

Now because of this, I have done somethings wrong, forgotten things, and not done things.

Years previously, I would have been wracked with guilt and felt a failure as a mother, but I am over that now.

These are things that have been un-super-motherly of me.

  1. Didn’t attend my boys’ sports day – was at work training
  2. Only attended half of my girls’ sports day – had to work and I sat down to watch, not run around and cheered – I had been up since 5.00 to work, I couldn’t of cheered if I tried!
  3. We have had McDonalds for dinner on numerous occasions.
  4. Forgot to take ballet costumes to the full dress rehearsal, but did race back home and get them, and embarrassed my baby girl so much as I raced back in, in a fluster – she couldn’t look at me!
  5. Left my children at home alone for 45 mins, whilst I attended a school event.
  6. Left the guitar performance early (as soon as my boy had played) much to his embarrassment, but honestly listening to other peoples’ children playing the guitar badly, is not a life requirement.
  7. Sent my daughter to sports day in my t-shirt, that keep slipping off her shoulder, as it was the only red one we had and I wasn’t racing out on a Sunday to buy one.
  8. Said no to a messy craft activity, as I had just cleaned and we are getting ready for a big party this weekend and I want as less mess as possible.
  9. Said NO – to my baby girl going to a disco and working at the disco – couldn’t manage it, clashed with dress rehearsal.
  10. Bought myself a big bag of Maltesers and didn’t share them – after these last few weeks, I needed them for my health and sanity.
  11. Got a bit tired, cross and yelled a bit too much.

Why don’t I feel guilty anymore? Well, because over the years I have realised that I cannot do it all, I am not a Super Mother.  All I can do is my best.  At the end of the day, I am a good woman.  I am not perfect by any means, but my intentions are good. I do not sit down and watch daytime TV and drink tea all day – I run as fast as I can to do all the things I need to do.

So if things get forgotten, not done, and I say No more than I used to – well, that’s just life, my darling children and your old enough now to just suck it up and understand!   And any mother tutting me for not living up to the Super Mother code, well look around and you will see the majority of other mothers in just the same boat as me, coping as best we can and doing the best we can – we just need to admit it to ourselves and know that the “Super Mother” is a myth!

Fist Pump Moments

I am a list ticker.  I love ticking my lists.  I meticulously plan my week, allocating all my tasks, according to time taken to do task and time available.

Previously as a single, non-parent person, this was very satisfying – for example, clean kitchen – tick and it would stay like that for, oh my goodness, at least a couple of days, if not the whole week.

Now as a married with children person, obviously this feeling of satisfaction lasts at least, oh my gosh, five minutes!!!!  Because you know that whatever you have done and ticked off your list, will need doing again pretty much straight away.  Doesn’t really give me that same sense of wellbeing.

Also the fact that you need to ask things, teach things and YELL AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS things more than once, is not very satisfying.  And you know I mean ask, teach and yell a BILLION times, not just more than once.

I have resigned myself to all this, but I still insist on writing my lists and asking, teaching and yelling.  Must mean I love them.

BUT…..

I have started to experience a new thing.  I call them my Fist Pump Moments.  Where when no one is looking, you madly yell YES and you pump your fist excitedly in the air and feel such glee.

It has taken a long time, but those of you with young children, take note, it does get better.  Not all the time mind, just every now and again, to make it all worth it.

For example….

“Mummy I am making a ham and cheese toasty and a cappuccino, would you like me to make some for you too?”

“Oh my goodness, this bin is full and disgusting.  I am going to empty it.  Can you empty the Recycling?” (said to brother).

“Daddy, please can you put your headphones on, we are doing our homework and Mummy is working and we don’t want to listen to your terrible TV.”

ballet“Mummy, thank you for not letting me give up ballet when I wanted to, I love it now and have made such good friends and will be getting toe shoes soon.”

Me to Hubby: “Why are you mowing the lawn” (after work on a Monday).  Hubby: “Well, I have lots of things to do, and I had a spare 20 minutes, so I thought I would just get this one thing off the list!”

“I think that I should wear my hair up to school, it stays neater that way”

“I don’t dislike prawns/potato/pasta with cream”

“I am tired, I think I will go to bed early” – well that’s not happened yet, but I live in eternal hope.

These things may seem insignificant, but each time a lesson is learnt, advice is heeded, an independent helpful moment happens, it makes everything, all the yelling, all the redoing things again and again, worth it.

I am ticking things off my parent list.  I am feeling satisfied. And my sense of wellbeing is returning.