But today, I caught up. I always brace myself before I ever check these random commenters’ posts, readying for for the punch in the guts that could just be round the corner. But…the ones I uncovered today – and then sheepishly replied to these many months after they were originally posted! – were actually rather lovely.
This one stood out, re: last year’s home tour video: “Keep up the good work of sharing the truth of mummy hood.”
It struck a nerve because here’s the thing: half the time on here, I don’t feel like I do.
I share the good stuff. Some of the crap stuff, but not really the truth of what’s going on day to day. When people used to say to me “I don’t know how you do it!” I would shrug it off, but now if you say that to me in person I’m likely to actually confess the reality, that I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown when things get beyond insane. But for some reason I’ve loathe to commit these confessions in the written form. So…while I’m freshly motivated but the lovely words of this dear stranger on youtube, I’m gonna share some truth. Dig.
The Truth of Mummyhood: HOW I DO IT ALL.
1. I cut corners. Often. Religiously. The biggest one of these is housework. Which would be fine, except that I actually do happen to enjoy having a clean space. I find it difficult to ignore crap. On Saturday when cleaning under our bed (only because we were having my grandma over, who has an uncanny knack for looking at my post-clean efforts and saying “Wow, you really need to clean up in here!”) I found clothes I hadn’t seen in months, fluff, cups, a lost DVD from the library and a baby bottle teat. We don’t even have a baby. I had a moment and collapsed in defeat on the bed, while the kids gathered round, gave me cuddles and offered to clean the whole house while I slept. I felt like some sort of bogan Cleopatra. I HATE things being out of order, hate it. But…I hate it far less than I hate not getting any creative work done. So…there you go. It is my choice. And I choose a messy house.
2. Sometimes I ignore the kids while I work. I comfort myself with articles that talk about how the french do this and how ignoring them is actually a form of superior parenting. Then I get back to beating myself up about it. Then I inevitably compensate by taking them out for fish and chips on the beach. It’s basically a cycle of PARENTING FAIL, PARENTING WIN, PARENTING FAIL, PARENTING WIN, which goes in direct disproportion to my other cycle of WORK WIN, WORK FAIL, WORK WIN, WORK FAIL. This amazing article I read recently (which could spark off an entire other series of posts on here from all the thoughts and feelings it brought up in me alone), talked about this concept far more eloquently than I can.
3. I sacrifice sleep. It is not unusual to be still working at 2.30 in the morning. I actually really enjoy what I do (I’m lucky, aside from some of the boring admin details I’d rather delegate, I actually do enjoy the marketing, promo and of course, writing work that comes with freelancing as a performer.) The downside? It makes it really hard to pry my butt away from the computer when I should be. And it makes my back hurt. More.
4. I am a super-fast typer. Last time I was measured I was 103wpm. This is not really a confession in itself, but I think it’s important to be honest about how I actually can get a lot done in a small amount of time. I’m not saying that to boast, just to explain how it is possible for me to get through an absolute TON of works (emails, media releases, show blurbs, etc.) pretty quickly: typing fast. I honestly think it’s the best skill I’ve ever mastered. I am buying my kids this computer typing tutor (the very one I learned on) soon.
5. Some nights we have baked beans on toast for dinner. I’m not even sure what the kids eat*.
In summary, much of the time my home time feels like a gong show, but when I really think about what I want from life, I know that above all, I just want it to be full.
And it is.
Chaotically, messy, disorganisedly, crazy, loud, over-the-top, failure-riddled, at times just plain overwhelmingly, on-the-verge-of-a-breakdown FULL.
But, I know that:
a) this is my choice; and
b) I will NEVER do it all.
And today, that is the truth of mummy hood.