Tap Tap

I don’t know about you, but 6 years and three children in, I still look over my shoulder occassionally to see who might be coming close enough to tap me on the shoulder and tell me I’m not a real mother, please move along. If only there was a manual – one that doesn’t tell me to listen to my inner gut which frankly only tells me I ate too much chocolate and drank too much wine last night, or one that tells me exactly what time I can eat a slice of toast (honestly, one does) and lays out my parenting tasks like a military opertion – with as much loving as that would entail. No, we just have to muddle through, hoping against hope that we aren’t on the social services list for mad mothers, and gaining strength in numbers by hanging out (or blogging alongside) other mad mothers, in every form the word mad entails.

And just when I think I’m really not very good at this (last week my 6pm phone call to a friend went like this: ‘is it ok to open a bottle of wine before the kids go to bed?’ My friend replied, ‘well, what are they doing?’ to which I confessed they were eating chocolate and watching TV. ‘Oh you’re way past wondering if drinking before their bedtime is ok!” she replied) my cohorts in co-parenting (for that is what friends are), boosted my confidence by confessing their own wayward ways. There is nothing like someone else’s badness you make you feel good.

On Friday night, during a much needed girlie night drinking wine (it was after the kid’s bedtime!) my friend and I decided to watch our favourite girlie night DVD. Oh come on! We are grown women but admit it – we all love a teenage vampire! After fiddling with the controls for a few moments, she announced she was off to get her daughter up. “But she’s been asleep for two hours!” I gasped. “Yes,” she said, as she carried her sleepy 8 year old into the room, “but she’s the only one who can work the DVD player.”

Did that make me feel good or what! Then, at a lovely afternoon tea with some other girlfriends the next day (it’s been an amazing rare, but gorgeous friend-filled weekend) my child pyschologist friend – who for years has been guiding parents on how to bring up their children, confessed she’s too confused and traumatised with her own two children to follow her own advice. “I used to be a parenting expert until I became a mum,” she wailed as we all smiled and consoled her with the reminder that we had never been parenting experts. And maybe that’s the point. We do the best we can….. with a little help from our friends. Thank you mad mothers everywhere for living in my world.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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3 Responses to Tap Tap

  1. cath c says:

    yes all we can do is muddle through.

    i confess, my kids watch watch me have a glass of wine with dinner many a night. hopefully i am teaching them the importance of moderation.

    i have been lucky enough to work with experts on how to handle my son with asperger's syndome, and tools they taught me help re: my other kids, too. treat each moment of difficulty as a new one, use practical literal language pertaining to the particular action and how to correct it without judgement or saying those horrid words, you always/never. make clear boundaries and consequences, discuss when they are ready to hear do you understand what you did and a better way to handle it.

    works like a charm. but i still have plenty of mayhem.


  2. Haha! Boy do I love this post. So so so true, about being asked to 'move along' from the Mama gig. I often wonder just how I became equipped to do this job… then I remember, I'm not equipped! I'm making up the whole darn thing, every step of the way. Sure, I read a few books, alot of blogs, talk to my own Mama and other 'mature' aged Mama's about their experiences… but when it's just the boys and I (95% of the time) I'm clutching at straws for the most part.
    What a lovely treat to have a friend filled weekend, so pleased you had that therapeutic outlet, that friends always seem to provide.
    I'm right there with you being a 'mad mother' across the globe my friend :o) xo
    P.S. Enjoy your trip to Donegal, sounds like a perfect place to make lots of beautiful memories with those lovely little ladies of yours.


  3. Foodie Mummy says:

    We are definitely all in the same boat. There has to be some secret manual somewhere carefully hidden from women. It's probably in the hands of a man who doesn't even know he is holding one of the most precious books in the world! Glad you had a nice relaxing week end. You truly deserve it. X


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