Saturday, November 05, 2005

The TMI Files. (Pity) Pool Party.

Well, the local swimming pool opened this weekend, so Magilla and I kitted up and rocked on down to get ourselves wet.

The weather was glorious and the water was inviting. What more could I ask for?

Well, there was that small part of me inside that still mourns some of the changes that motherhood has made. Not so much physical changes (I'll get to that later), as the changes in perception.

When the rugrat was only a few months old, I was driving to visit a friend, and a Kids in the Kitchen song came on the radio. I just cried and cried, because I felt to desolate. The song brought back all these memories of being 18, 19, 20.... and hitting the dancefloor. Yes, I used to dance all night (or until we got kicked out at closing). Yes, there were times when I definitely had too much to drink and paid for it bigtime. But I was having fun!

And here I was, 35 years old, driving around with a baby in the back and never going to dance again.

It sure felt like that. It was actually only a couple of months ago that I got the opportunity to go out and have a few drinks and dance to a really awful covers band in a Bogan Paradise.

It wasn't until Magilla was 9 months old that I got to go out and play pool one night. It was only for an hour or two, but it was a nice break. I've been to the cinemas a couple of times, but mainly it's all family and close friends because there is no large network I would entrust her to, and those that I would are usually overcommitted to other things anyway.

It all sounds much worse than it really is. :) She's the most adorable creature. I'm still getting plenty of cuddles and kisses (human as well as puppydog kisses lol) so I can't complain. Watching her develop is a joy to behold. (no, this is not me trying to convince myself).

But back to the pool.

I watched her in the shallow pool surrounded by other kids who were a few years older and ignoring her. Sometimes I was in with her, and others I sat on the edge watching.

Of course, I got a major attack of the guilts:

It's my fault she's a bit socially inept (she's not really, just not had the exposure to lots of unkown children, hence figures that everyone she meets is a friend and should be interested in her also).

It's my fault she's only got me to asociate with. (Well duh! Who else would she have? She gets to see other people more frequently these days than in the past, and now we're settling into somewhere with some peace of mind, we can get to know the neighbours properly. As for it being my fault, well that's stating the bleeding obvious, but there's nobody else for her to live with. Not while I'm still kicking, that is!)

You get my drift.

And while I was on this maudlin journey, working on my suntan - it's currently a melbourne tan of white on white - I got to thinking of the other changes in my life. Like how when I was going out and about I used to turn heads. I really miss that sometimes. It's nice to be considered physically attractive and seen as a woman as opposed to a mother. I've been told in the past to get over it, because it was my choice to become a mother and that's how people will see me forever more. I was insulted then, and am insulted now with that comment.

Physically, I've not changed appearance all that much. The hips are a little bit wider. Not by much, but I'll never get down to a size 8 again regardless of how skeletal I get. I'm around the size I was when I got pregnant, so I can't complain there. Up top, I'm still doing okay, too. Especially when I take into consideration 2 years of breastfeeding. I'm just not quite as firm as I once was lol.

I've always liked my grey hairs, so no problem there, and I'm not too haggard these days.

So why am I whining?

I sometimes miss the irresponsibility. The ability to come and go as I pleased and answering to nobody.

Did I feel like taking a couple of weeks and heading north? No problem. I had a nice disposable income and no ties. Just phone up the airlines, call the mates up north and tell them to get the couch ready. No fuss, no problems.

I miss seeing the desire in a man's eyes and knowing that I'd put it there.

Here I was at the pool, in a bikini, looking quite okay for a middle-aged mum (snicker) and there was nobody to look at me with lust.

That is so tragic.

Needless to say, I got over it, but it does rear its head every now and again. It's just one of the things we deal with when we become mums.

No longer a woman, we become mother first and everything else second.

Would I turn back the clock and do things over? No. Because then I wouldn't be where I am with Magilla. At least I did have a great time before settling into parenthood; there are plenty who can't claim that.


At 1:13 AM, Blogger Caz said...

Dear, dear me. I'd like to tell you that things will change, I really would. But they won't, but then again they will, but only kinda.

I was a single Mum by the time my bub was 8 mths old. My Dad died a few months later, and I was living in another state, 1000 kms from any relative, and only new to the state, so no friends to speak of, barely even an acqaintence (we'd moved because my husband got a job). I stayed there for 16 years, with rare visits to see family. Finally moved back "home" after my brother died. (BTW - you can never go home, not really. I must be the only person who has ever cried buckets on the flight from Canberra to Melbourne. The tears started as soon as the plane curved over the Captain Cook water jet and Treasury, where I'd worked, and I couldn't stop the entire flight...tragic!)

Short story: my daughter is an adult, and I have a nine month old grandson, so I now have a double burden of love - for my little girl, who is forever my baby, and for her son, the next generation, the genes will go on. It's scary to have the responsibility of a child and a grandchild, if that makes any sense. They are both so gorgeous, with so much ahead of them. It almost crushes my heart some days.

I'm probably not that much older than you, and I did eventually get to be a size 8, which is quite amazing, since I never was in my youth - I was always chubby. (Should point out that I'm only short - 155 cm - so size 8, for me, isn't exactly anorexic).

My daughter grew up with me, me, and me, as her primary influence; she only saw relatives every few years for very brief visits. She is amiable and gregarious and makes friends where ever she goes - she's like the honey for bees. Which is odd, since I'm rather anti-social and stand-offish, and quite picky about friends. So, don't worry about your little one, she will turn out to be perfect and exactly right. And I can say that in full knowledge of the times I wished my daughter had a better Mum, or a "real" family, or that she had contact with her dad, and that I was the worst person on earth for not doing better for her - the tears I shed over wanting things to be so much better than they were; gosh, there were some hard years.

I eventually found a true love, at 40. A miracle if ever there was. Perhaps it won't last forever, but it's better than than any relationship I have ever had and I am truly grateful for every minute of it (and there were many past men, but not the live in variety, as I could never bring myself to inflict a string of "uncles" on an innocent child - a decision I never regretted, I hasten to add; I still think it was the right thing to do).

So, your daughter will grow up to be terrific, men will still desire and love you, the hairdresser can easily fix that nasty unnatural hair colour, being a size 8 is not important to anything, but you will never ever be care free again. Just when you think you might catch a bit of serious irresponsibility - go off the rails for a while - the next generation will come along, and your daughter will need you more than ever before. There is no escape, seriously, not ever.

The best you can do is snatch a few moments just for you, even if only in your mind, because being a Mum shouldn't mean giving up your own desires and your own carefree wishes, it just means you have to be very, very creative about how you go about it. Well, you at least have to try!

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

Thanks, caz. :) Words of wisdom from someone who's gone before me.

I was having a whine, but you know how it is. 97% of the time it's all just par for the course, and then you have one of those days where you just need to feel sorry for yourself.

I know what you mean about going home again. After my mum died, and dad got remarried, the house I grew up in was renovated. I had issues with that - it was no longer 'home'. Of course, you couldn't tell my dad that. He decided that my issues meant that I didn't want him to get married at all. He still doesn't get it.

I guess because I know that if Mum was alive there would actually be support from my immediate family about how I'm raising Magilla and the decisions I've made so far, it weighs me down at times. LOL She'd be telling Dad to pull his head in or to bugger off and mind his own business. He's ex-army and likes someone to organise him. The new wife is good value, and they are very happy.

I suppose a big reason for my posting stuff like this here is because of the Cone of Silence that exists in the Sisterhood. :)

Everybody is willing to talk about the good things, the great things, but the days when you question everything you're doing are like the elephant in the living room. We all know it's there, but nobody wants to be first to mention it.

It's like a friend of mine who has a 6month old. She's bipolar, and getting treatment for it, but she still has those days when she doesn't cope with being a mum. Her partner thinks she needs to up her dosage, but as we all know, it's just a part of the readjustment you go through.

One day, the world is at your feet, you're relatively free to come and go, the next you have a totally dependent creature in your face. It's not like a dog, you can't send it to the boarding kennels when you go away, and you can't sell it or give it away if you are having difficulty.

She just didn't realise that we all have those days when you think about dropkicking the bundle of joy through the window. We don't do it, but secretly we understand when somebody on the news does it.

We just don't talk about it and lock our guilt away.

It's all just a part of being human, and changing our roles in life.

At 6:41 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

And on a lighter note:

Two Chinese men have been arrested while trying to cross the border into Russia on a lawnmower.

The men told border guards at the Slavyanka post, in Russia's Khasansky County that they had become lost while cutting the grass.

Russian border police said it was not the first time they had to deal with wandering gardeners from China.

"we have issued a number of warnings to our opposite numbers in China, but despite that, they seem to have no control over the apparent nomadic habits of their gardening nationals," a spokesman said.

I can't find the link for it, although it was online earlier. :) It was in today's paper.

At 7:30 PM, Blogger Caz said...

A few weeks back a friend commented to me that "it must have been very hard", as a single parent. I remember saying - and I had to think about it first - that the most difficult thing was never knowing if I was making the "right" decisions; not having the input and reassurance of another adult, and it really was, when I look back. Perhaps we ALL feel that way, single parent or not, but I do think there are times when the single parent feels worse than the paired parents. It just goes with the territory.

As I said to "the kids" when my daughter got pregnant - "it's not just for Xmas, it's for life". I reminded them many a time, in the hope they would appreciate what they were taking on.

My daughter and son in law have done a great job as new parents, and I can see that, between the two of them, the emotional and physical sharing does lighten the load. It's lovely to see their happiness as a little family unit. I'm very proud of all three of them, as you would gather! :-}

I had many a pathetic day, but everyone does muddle through, and we can never really know how others are managing, or if they're doing a "better" job of it than we are. I remember one "perfect family", just the requisite one dad, one mum, one daughter, and the parents were soooo precious, and soooo perfect, and were doing a brilliant job of raising the perfect child ... both my daughter and I rolled around laughing when it eventually transpired, toward the end of the high school years (the girls also went through primary together), that Mr Perfect Dad & Perfect Husband had been having an affair for about a decade, and announced right before Xmas that he was leaving. The daughter turned out to be a really lovely young lady though, despite her parents!

See, that's the thing, you never really know what's going on with others, and how they're managing, so all you can do is look after your own patch, and don't shit on your own door step, as they say. And if you look after each today, each tomorrow tends to be pretty much okay too.

Oooh, I do hope your friend doesn't up "the meds". Bipolar is harsh, but the drugs are very often worse. It's a bugger of a thing, especially when doctors throw anti-depressants around, and SSRIs (or whatever they are) - in total ignorance that they don't help bi-polar; those drugs make it worse, or at best do nothing for bi-polar. Mostly they fuck with your mind pretty badly.

Ah, the good old "I got lost on my way to mow the back yard" excuse. That is JUST classic!

At 10:21 PM, Blogger Jai Normosone said...

Uh yeah.... I listen to stuff from the 80 sometimes as well and cry - some of it was just SO goddamn BAD!! Did you ever take those records out to the bin in the middle of the night wrapped up in newspaper so that nobody could see what you willingly listened to?

I thought that being a parent is tough - period. Doing it on your own would obviously be harder but I think that for those who make it through without losing their mind should realise that only someone with conviction for what they're doing can do what they do and do it right. If you raise a well-adjusted child that is educated and has values and principles, then you should be proud. I know I couldn't do it.

*heh* " lost while mowing the lawn" - that's what happens to me! (don't believe me, ask Nick! :)

So you miss the look in a bloke's eyes when he looks at you and it's all he can do to stop his knees from going weak. I miss that look in a woman as well. To look into their eyes and see a look that is of true and genuine feelings is truly magic, and it's not one that I've seen very often. There are days when you would almost sell your soul to see it just one more time....

I wouldn't be too worried about Magilla if she is happy playing on her own. There are many of us who go through life that are unable to tolerate our own company and always need others around them to distract them from thinking too deeply about anything. I guess she is still young and there will be time to learn people skills :)
I would be inclined to say to not break her of the habit of maybe wanting to be alone - if she can live with herself and be happy, she will never be inclined to pick up *any* bloke out there out of boredom and would be content to wait for Mr Right, instead of Mr Right Now.
Of course, this is all coming from someone who made a promise to himself at about age 9 or 10 that he was going to live in a cave and be all alone so that he didn't have to put up with the idiots of the world. I've always been a loner and still am but now I'd like to share the cave someday with a small minority as well as the cats :) (I might be 1/16th French but like Janeane Garofalo said in 'The Truth About Cats & Dogs': "It's OK to love your pets - just don't *love* your pets" :)

My dear, I feel that the notion of age is dawning on you - and do you know what? WHO CARES! (gee - that sounded bad.... waitaminit and I'll *... no, I'll just make it worse... :)

So you are 35? What does that mean? Are you a different person from when you were 20? Are you smarter? Wiser? More able to cope with life? It's like that old saying about wishing I knew then what I knew now. It's great having some knowledge about the real world - that's the main thing that distinguishes you from your average left-wing, bleeding-heart liberal!

Grey hair? Yeah - it happens. A bit wider? That's inevitable. No tan? No skin cancers! :)
I'm sure you're aware of the different types of blokes and what they want - the main thing that counts in all of this is: "Never give up!". Always strive - never quit.
If you don't want grey hairs - go get them coloured.
If you want to be a size less - work on it.
If you want to speak another language - learn it.
In the end, it is you and how you see yourself that matters in the end, and if a bloke (or a big, hairy-knuckled lesbian) happens to whistle in your direction and smile or comment on something (and you appreciate that) - bonus!

Throw the bathroom scales to buggary - they mean nothing more than entertainment. If you feel obliged to check your body shape, take measurements - they are the only true indicators.

In any case, if you see yourself in a bikini now and still think you look good, then you must be doing something right! :)

Anyway... since when does being a mother mean that you're not a woman? At least in this day and age it is a good indicator that you're playing for the right team! :D

"Getcha lusty looks here - going cheap!!" :)

At 10:36 PM, Blogger Jai Normosone said...

If it helps any - in the midst of my ramblings, I forgot one important point:


(uh - does any know how to spell a wolf whistle? I just wanna help my mate here feel good about herself for a few minutes.... :)

At 10:44 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

Thanks for that, jai. :)

I was just having a bit of a pity party and letting it all hang out. Not literally, of course.

I like my grey hair, although I did have a blue rinse through it. LOL It was electric blue, not lavender; I'm 38 not 83! I've never owned a set of scales, so no need to throw them out.

And don't you diss my 80s music. uh uh. No way! I am a child of the 80s and that way I'll stay. So there. :P

Re it being tougher as a single parent, I don't think it is. It's just different. There are different dynamics in play. At least I don't have to work out what to feed the man when he comes home, how to entertain him. It's nice not having to answer to somebody else for all of my decisions, and compromise is letting the rugrat talk me down to 5 mouthfuls of dinner before dessert rather than 10.

jai, if you want to see something really scary, check this out. Be warned.

The first photo was taken in 99, the other was in 2002. I look more like the first one than the 2nd one. Hope your eyes don't burn. lolol

At 10:45 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

Thanks, jai. I heard that.

It's appreciated. :)

At 11:00 PM, Blogger Jai Normosone said...

"At least I don't have to work out what to feed the man when he comes home, how to entertain him." ???

Hmmm... depends... if you sit at home doing nothing all day, then feeding and entertaining the man is fair. Staying at home to raise children is another thing altogether though. I know that it isn't a bludge job.

I've often said that if I meet a woman who brings in a better crust than I do and there are kids, then I will stay home and let her go out and work and bring home the cash :) I like the idea of being able to work on the house and get things done while not wasting time commuting and such :)

Yeah, yeah - call me naive and that I know nothing about parenting. Hell, I knew that already! :)

At 9:53 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

jia, nobody knows anything about parenting until they spawn for themselves, so don't worry.

I've been at it 3 years, and will no doubt be fumbling for the rest of my life (ref:Caz ;D)

Also, there's nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home dad. You get to see the day to day development. It's amazing to watch your little tiny baby become bigger and more aware, and learn so quickly. I used to spend ages just looking at her. You sit down for a little bit, look into her eyes, and an hour later you realise you've done nothing but moon over your child.

It's a nice way to waste time, but it's not really wasted. It's time well spent, and since every minute that goes by is a minute gone, then the more we spend with our little ones, the better it makes us.

Well, I think so, anyway.


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