Monday, October 8, 2012

On Raising Flying Schizophrenic Cats, Especially During School Holidays

School went back today, and instead of feeling rejuvenated, I am like a broken old donkey, saddling up for another round of ploughing the potato field. Having three kids is not like herding cats, I've decided.  It's like herding schizophrenic flying cats. Using Apple Maps.

 Right now, this life is asking more of me than I have to give. Or rather, I am giving what I can, and wishing I was closer to the kind of mum I would like to be, the kind of life I would like to create. In my daydreams I am cooking, sewing, writing, creating, playing with the kids, and wearing nice outfits. In reality, this year,  I am failing to wax my legs, feeling exhausted and muttering 'oh for fucksake' a dozen times a day under my breath.
.
I've come to realise that I can do something fun and  creative with the kids, or clean the house, or have a rest, on any given day; but I cannot do all three. The bare bones of life take all my moments - banging out fifteen covers a day from the short-order kitchen; keeping the laundry-pile under control, sweeping the floor under the high-chair, stocking the cupboards with nappies and lentils and wallpaper. Any task or project I take on outside of the basics - spring-cleaning, baking, car-cleaning - requires some kind of withdrawal from the limited funds of the domestic  time-bank that will need to be paid back later with a sinkful of washing up or a bedroom that has over days become so utterly carpeted in toys and clothes that is is very difficult to find exactly where the smell is coming from.

My back, by the end of a shift of carting the baby and driving the school-run, is angry and ready for rest. But once the kids are in bed, the hours are precious, and slip away so fast. I am straight in the bath when I can clock off and after that - I can blog, or read, or sew, or ctach up on the phone, or watch a show with Keith, or go to bed, or even - god forbid - put in the final couple of housewifely hours that are required to have a house that is actually all clean at one time, rather than in patches. But it's not much time. It's not enough time to do anything well. So there's a lot of feeling half-assed in every area. My mojo has flown the dojo.

I have done a little sewing lately, because after two weeks of feeling like a service industry, a black cloud was beginning to drip over my head and the dark mama was playing the woman's blues inside me.   I knew I had to find myself some moment of domestic joy, some creative release, something with a longer life than a good leek tart or a fresh set of sheets. When you are losing sight of the joys in home life, and yet you are absolutely shackled to it for some years to come, you are in trouble. I really do not want to travel down some bitter path to Resentment Land, where, I'm pretty sure,  at 6 pm you slam down a plate of grey eggs and snarl at your family 'Eat up, assholes. I'll be in the other room. ' I want to stay living in the place where we eat a good meal, and we laugh , and talk about our day, and raise a glass to celebrate that we are together in our little patch of sunshine.

But school holidays have kicked me in the face. It's my first crack at it this year, and I am on the whole, failing at it, I think. I shall regroup and come at the summer ones with a better plan. But you know, I feel a little better just releasing this rant and letting it fly free. Thank god for the cathartic powers of the Hinternet.

Any ideas on managing three schizophrenic cats under six gratefully received.

21 comments:

  1. You're performing daily miracles ! It's time for a well-earned coffee .

    ReplyDelete
  2. http://2plus1dotme2.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/guest-post-kylie-from-octavia-and-vicky/

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh Rach. I read your blog always as its a mirror of my life. i have 3 under 6. my nights are like yours. my days the same. sleepless, tired, messy, chaotic and lovely all at the same time. my kids still wake at night even though i sleep with them, my dog mary destroys everything i own, my house is broken and my kids are free FREE wild FREE spirits which is wonderful but hard on the mumma. i was saved by the old pom pom. saVED. desperate to find a realistic activity that would not be destroyed by kids and i was able to do while i watched children engage in mud fights or bike rides. the are colourful constructions hanging from my walls full of all my angst, anxiety, depression and joy. i am working more now (sob). which is hard but a must if we want to keep this broken house and feed the kids well. i have less time for pom poms and i feel it. and i do feel a saddness about working but as i write this i realise that those couple of days work saves me from my mind. that does struggle with darkness and a long history of anxiety. blessings to you. i might grab your address from my dear anna and send you one of my pom poms. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pom poms. This is a great idea. Thanks for wirting this - I love to hear that I'm not on my own. And I really love that your dog is called Mary. I once had a dog called Derek. xxx

      Delete
  4. It is relentless, isn't it? I know. I understand that feeling. You really captured that with your line about the 'domestic time bank'. So spot on. I wish I had advice for you - I don't really. I suspect you're like me: you feel like whacking a DVD on for a while to get through some jobs is a parenting fail. I am however (after years doing this gig) learning to accept that actually it's not, and occasionally using that little box next to the TV has the potential to save my sanity...!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes but how do you get a baby to watch TV???? This is the killer.

      Delete
  5. Have you read Buddhism for Mothers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good call. It's in the bookshelf. Time for a revisit methinks. x

      Delete
  6. Dear Rach, I feel bad that I am laughing so much at how you write about your life with these "schizphrenic cats"! They are so cute to look at and at the end of the day when they are all asleep I am sure you think "it wasn't all that bad" until you wake up and have to do it all again tomorrow. Hang in there it does get easier, especially when they are teens and stay in bed all day! xxx Max xxx PS Alison wants me to tel you that she isn't the one in bed all day...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, Alison is way too busy to stay in bed all day clearly! But god children sleeping all day does sound nice...

      Delete
  7. Holy shit, I feel like this and I only have one! You're doing an amazing job, lady. My only tip is that drinking wine and reading in the bath means you can get three things done at the same time.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don't have any kids, therefore I don't have any helpful ideas, but I sure hope your back gets better. And I hope you find a way to sneak in even more me-time for sewing or whatever to fill up your energy account!

    Fine

    ReplyDelete
  9. You are THE most amazing Mum, Rachael. Just from reading, I know you're fun, intelligent, creative, funny, generously loving, and many, many, other amazing things. And part of it all, is being angry and cranky sometimes, and feeling over it, and showing your kids that life is hard - that's real. It doesn't make you less of a Mum. Most Mums do not have to battle their own back on top of everything else, which makes you even more remarkable. I have no ideas for you - but just wanted to say ... keep up the good work*! Kellie xx
    *directly quoting from a letter my little sister once wrote to Bob Hawke.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But did Bob reply? That's what I want to know! Thanks for your kind words Kellie. xx

      Delete
  10. I hear you sista. Loud and clear. School hols get me every time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My holiday report card: 'Needs work. Poor attitude.'

      Delete
  11. Rach, you are awesome, and I just sat here and read this and was in awe. SO beautifully written.

    My house is a complete and utter pigsty. There are drawers sticking out of cupboards, overflowing and so pregnant with 'stuff' that they can't be closed. There's a blanket on the 'breastfeeding' chair that's been sitting on it for weeks, and let's talk about the breastfeeding chair that hasn't actually been a breastfeeding chair for what... two and a half years.

    Sigh.

    I daydream of coming home from work and sewing.
    By the time I actually come home I am tired, grumpy and don't want to put my glasses on, or actually get myself organised to craft. Sometimes I do, but mostly not.

    Home life sucks it from you. When I hit the blues, I make there be ONE single awesome thing I look forward to - that is solely MY thing. It's usually something very simple, and most would think totally ridiculous.

    One of my favourite things for me is drinking a big steaming cup of my very favourite T2 Tea (licorice legs). Gosh I love it. And I feel like I am looking after me.

    You are doing an awesome job. You are. You're raising three awesome children. Each of them are crackers.

    I freaking love you. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love you too Lex. I think even more after I 'I don't want to put my glasses on.' Oh, the glamour! And I totally agree about finding pleasure in the small, everyday moments. xxx

      Delete

Thanks for talking to me. I don't got cooties. Oh, except for when I got cooties.