Yeah it’s another semi Facebook rant, but it’s also a few words on a small triumph.
My rant begins with the number of people posting the “STOP DOING THESE THINGS ON FACEBOOK” posts. Stop posting about your kids, your food, your bowel movements. Stop bragging with your holiday snaps. Stop remembering people who died a million years ago. Stop this, stop that, stop communicating on a social network platform.
You know you can shut that shit down, right? Lord knows I’ve done it enough times over the last few weeks. I open Farcebook, looking to see what’s going on with the wedding world, or to see what my awesome mates are getting up to, and come away wondering if I’m actually allowed to post anything on a social platform designed for POSTING AND SHARING. I discovered several wonderful features, maaaaaany months ago. Hide/block/unfriend gets used a lot. As does “do you wish to close this browser?” Why yes, Google Chrome. Yes I fucking do, since everyone is in a shitty mood and I’m supposed to NOT SAY ANYTHING.
But my rant comes, because today I posted this.
I’ve written about my determination to get them into private school many times before.
Now, my friends who give a shit, will know I have been stressed to my goddamn EYEBALLS in the past, trying to sort out good schooling for The Smalls. Their current school is painful. In the last 3 months, I’ve had to rescue Noah’s reading. He’s gone from crying every time I tell him it’s time to read a school book, through to requesting 5 minutes at bedtime to read several chapters of his own books. He despairs with school books. Here at home, we can’t give him enough to read; I’m pre-empting what the hell he could read next. Providing Isaac isn’t in mental crazy-boy mode in the mornings, they both read for 15 minutes when they wake up.
Noah comes home with weekly maths tests, with which he gets no help at school. We, his parents, have no idea of the point of them, what they’re trying to achieve, how we are to help him, IF we are allowed to help him, how often he is to do them…no help. We have no idea. So when Noah came home with the same test again for the umpteenth time because he didn’t get the answers right at school, he was obviously in tears. He’s borderline hating maths. It’s only thanks to twinkl (that site has been a SAVIOUR, that’s for sure) and me saying “fuck it, school, I’m going to teach him MY way”, he has FINALLY clicked how to work through the test with much less help. Was I supposed to help him? Fuck knows. Support from school has been minimal; The Mr and I are still in the dark.
We understand that with the education system the way it is at the mo, you get what you pay for. I know perfectly well that state schools are stretched to stupidly ridiculous levels, and the majority of children are just not getting the full help and care needed. Teachers are being pushed to absolute limits, and many are in the dark on their subjects, as a result. I know; I’ve taught in schools. So, the aim is to send them to private school, to give them the absolute best education we can afford to give them. The schools in our area are not able to give us what we need. I don’t expect my boy to end up in tears every time I ask him to do numeracy or literacy.
Fyi, this morning he said to me “You know, Mommy, I feel much better about my numbers now that you’ve helped me. I think it might be a bit easier now.” Geeze. And if I had stepped back because I had assumed I was not allowed to help? What then?
Anyway. I posted that facebook status, because I am really goddamn pleased to feel that I’m doing all I can to help his education. It is a BLOODY BIG THING to me, making sure that they are BOTH educated people when they grow, with a sense of self, good intelligence, and sound knowledge of important subjects. And of course, rightly so, I’m goddamn proud of my children. So why did I feel immediate guilt when I posted it? Why did I feel that I had to justify posting what I posted?
Why did I think to myself, the actual words, “shit, I better clarify that, as I don’t want people to think I’m bragging about getting them into private school. Hell, maybe I should just delete it?”
I really don’t like myself for thinking that. I wanted to share something with my friends, with people who I thought might give a shit, people who might be mildly interested with our progress, people who are family and want to know what’s going on…it’s my Facebook page and it’s how I let people know stuff. People who care.
So I didn’t delete it, and I’m going to keep posting stuff like that. And I’m going to keep posting how proud I am of my boys. I’m going to keep posting birthday messages to them, and a photo, assuming I remember to do so and haven’t forgotten, because sometimes I’m a douche mom but y’know, it happens.
I’m bloody proud of my kiddos, I’m a foodie, I like photos, and I’m a bloody chatty person. Sooooooo I guess people are going to have to exercise that “STFU” button a little more often where I’m concerned. And now the sun is shining which means it’s time to go outside and play with another camera.
This is an expanded version of something I posted on Instagram/Facebook. It’s still playing on my mind, even after pondering it some more, so I wanted to post it here, too. Since this blog is part of my journal, it felt like it made sense to do so.
Someone once told me, I need to “read some of the “right” books, and to not believe everything I see in the movies.” This was in response to wanting to “own” a pet dragon. I had just changed my desktop to a scene from How To Train Your Dragon. Do I believe dragons really exist? I honestly don’t know. My imagination likes to run away with me. I quite like that. Does it mean I live in a dream world? Fuck no. I’m very grounded and am very aware of the things around me.
I have thought about this, a LOT, since I heard those words, a month ago. It has taken me this long to figure out why those words echoed in my head, and grated against me so much. If I were to curb my imagination, to read only books which were “acceptable by all”, what kind of incredibly dull and restricted world would I be living in? What kind of lifeless person would I be? The person who said those words isn’t an asshole. I know her well, I know where she’s been, I know where she’s coming from. But she got me thinking about the lives we lead, and how they affect our growth. And how one persons wonder and delight, can be another persons utter bullshit. That’s fair enough. We’re all different.
Christmas week has taken a lot of imagination to make it work for The Smalls. Their Christmas Eve Gift Box was awesome. Building up the imagination for Santa’s arrival was ace. Christmas Day treats and additional touches were so much fun. It was brilliant, and it felt magical for them, maybe even a little magical for me, too. The very day I curb this, the day I start being selective on what I read and watch, is the day I become one of the same old, “every day” people, one of millions, the very same as so many others, in the world.
This is “Toothless”, lead dragon from the book and film series “How to Train Your Dragon”. The Smalls have one each and this third one is my own. And he’s ace, and he’ll be awesome in fueling my fire for imagination and creativity. I wonder and and marvel over the imagination of children, and I’m often jealous at how creative they can be. I’m forever encouraging The Smalls to use their imagination while they play, because that’s how they grow and develop. It’s how they will become incredible human beings, with a sense of strength which few will match. It’s how they will know that, no matter what, they will always be able to find a way around the problems in life, because they will be the ones thinking outside of the box. They will be the ones with greater knowledge than others, because they didn’t restrict themselves in learning.
Because that’s how wonderful the mind can be.
This week, I told The Smalls, The News. I told them as best as I could (“Very soon, I won’t be living here any more, BUT you will still see me ALL THE TIME, and you can come and play round my house if you like, and I’ll still pick you up from school, and do your tea, and listen to you read, and do writing and dinosaurs and Doc McStuffins, and – Noah, it’s ok, there’s no need to cry, you’ll still SEE me, and I’ll still nag you to sort your stuff out, and tell you to pick up your toys! And I’ll still do French with you and stuff. Pardon Isaac? Yeah sure! Of COURSE there’s no need to cry, you get it, right? Sure you do. It’ll be fun! Yes, of COURSE you can bring Father Bear and your dinosaurs.”) and cried silently while Noah had a cuddle.
Because I have to be brave and strong for him, right?
I think, although the news sunk in immediately with Noah, he was pretty quick to understand that I’m not going far away. I’ve shown him houses I’ve been looking at online, ad have told him roughly where they are. He realises that I’m aiming to move, quite literally, up the road.
So…yeah. I’m moving out. And We have decided they will be registered as living with me. Originally, at the start of the week, they were to live here in their current home with The Mr.
And then I flipped my shit, because I realised that would pretty much make me feel like a nanny; pick them up from school, look after them until he returns, and then bugger off. Be their primary carer, without the title of primary carer. That didn’t sit well with me. So I had a minor rant, and verbalised with twitter a whole lot, and got some really fucking useful info. We can SHARE custody of The Smalls (I fucking hate the word “custody”, it feels taboo), and as long as it stays out of court (you bet your fucking ass it will stay out of court…) we can decide on shared custody in whatever way we please. I didn’t realise this before, though it makes me a lot happier now.
So, they will be living with me for the most part, though I guess they will do most nights in their current home.
I say that NOW, I have no idea how it will be once I’m out of this house.
SO THAT’S NICE.
I fucking hate being so goddamn lonely.
I think I was lonely all along, for aaaaaaages and ages, but deciding on separation kinda highlighted it. Which is pretty shit.
And then, loads of people are offering help and support (you really are fucking amazing, those of you who have offered or mentioned or whatever. Thank you). Which is lovely, but…I think because there’s SO MUCH going on, with a whole spectrum of family issues as well as Endings, I know I don’t yet feel there’s anyone I’m wholly comfortable with. I know that once I start talking, I probably won’t stop, and there’s just sooooooo so much built up.
So instead it comes out here. Into open posts, into photos, into private posts, onto twitter…it almost feels easier to spread the load, rather than try to talk to a small handful of people. I suppose it’s also weird because there are people whom I’m drawn to, to talk to, but can’t (for whatever reason). And then there are others so seemingly…desperate…maybe, to reach out. But I can’t let them near for whatever reason. The connections aren’t right, the vibes aren’t there, the words are wrong. It makes perfect sense to me.
In this last week, everything seems to be happening at a lightning speed, and yet I can’t get through this fast enough. Looking for somewhere to live, working out how I can support myself on practically minimum wage, wanting to get to the stage when crippling emotions finally start to lose their edge.
I’m that mom in the school playground, who hides in the corner not wanting to make eye contact, avoiding talking to people. The one you think is a stuck up asshole, too good to speak to others, but is in fact just trying to hold her shit together. Trying hard not burst into tears in the playground. Trying not to let others see her face because her eyes are puffy and horrible, and her face is already streaked with salt water tears.
I despise those moments, because they leave me exhausted, low, frustrated, angry – full of all the negatives. I won’t survive this if I’m full of negatives. I know there must be balance, I get that. But the scales are stupidly fucking tipped, and won’t stop wobbling.
I currently have no fear about where I’m going, or what I’m doing. I know it’s right, I know it’s meant to be. I’m ok with that. And I know that I haven’t got time to be afraid, because this is just the shit that I have to get on with. I’ve made my choices, including this bastarding path I’m on.
My feet hurt. I am tired. I’d like a Zimmer frame. I’m a fucking pussy, whining about shit all the time. Maybe I need a reality check. Maybe I need a break. Maybe I need to get royally shit-faced with friends and remember Life. Maybe I need someone to just stop, listen and hear me, genuinely.
Maybe I’ll just try to keep recharging, ready for the Next Shitty Thing.
I didn’t, by the way, because that would be seriously fucking mean.
However, I confess I had NO CLUE how to deal with Isaac, the fastest boy in his year, when he cried all the way through Sports Day today. It’s fucking frustrating as hell, because all I’ve heard for the last few weeks is how amazing he is, and how he wins all his races. Needless to say, I put no pressure on him (I’ve been there, it’s fucking shit), and this morning he was in amazing spirits and raring to go. We were all super excited for him.
He ran his first race, and won.
He ran his second race, got halfway, and suddenly became the most self-aware person on the planet. It was quite alarming to watch. He ran a bit further, then turned back to get his hat.
And then refused to run any more races, or do any more events.
It wasn’t until it was his team’s turn to go to the drinks station whereby he finally calmed down and planted a smile on his face.
I’ll be honest, I was gutted. Gutted for him because I knew he could do this, without any trouble at all, and gutted for me because I had no idea how to deal with it. I didn’t see it coming, at all. He wanted to go home, or at least, sit with me and The Mr rather than with all the other kids. Which was frustrating because I’m very keen on him not seeing us as an escape clause of some sort.
I can only assume he became overwhelmed with it all, but we tried to encourage him all the way, even while he still refused. I suspect other parents thought I was being super-evil heartless-bitch mom, but I couldn’t see any other way. I’d give him a quick cuddle and then guide him back to his seat with his team.
Maybe that’s the word which stuck in my head; “team”. I feel it’s important that he understands he must be able to work with other people, and that we don’t always have a choice whether we want to do something or not.
Or I’m just a bitch who doesn’t take crying and whining for an answer, and becomes adamant that the only way he’s going to learn to deal with shit, is to just do it.
(It’s both, to be honest, though the latter did come off slightly stronger in the debate in my head.)
He clearly wasn’t damaged by it, as, after I won the Parent Bug Race (yes, parents on hands and feet, arses in the air, racing to the finish line), he was happy as Larry, pulling his usual silly faces, and perfectly happy to collect his certificate.
Oh the irony.
I did ask him why he didn’t want to race, and he replied it was because he “couldn’t remember things”. Which I thought was a bit bizarre.
I’m actually pretty certain I know why he didn’t want to race, but dealing with it is a different matter. I’ve seen other parents deal with it, but I know not everyone’s ways will work for others. It’s so bizarre that I spent so much of my previous job successfully teaching people to have confidence and just go for it, and yet I can’t do it with my own kiddo.
That sucks. I really want to help him without everyone having meltdowns. Bah.
Maybe I’ll just tell him to get over himself.
If I was in the right frame of mind, this would be a post ranting about the state of our government, and how we’re all fucked, and working til the grave and DOOM DOOM DAMN YOU MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT AND YOU TOO THE QUEEN.
However, clearly, I stopped paying too much attention a long time ago, and have chosen to live in blissful ignorance of that. Her. Him. Them.
Instead, I find myself feeling thoroughly sore about our situation here at home.
A mom, a dad, 2 children.
It sounds like it should all be lovely, sweetness and light. The kids go to school, the parents go to work, the mom picks up the kids, spends quality time with them until the dad comes homes, more quality time, yaddah yaddah, stereotype, whatever.
Instead, since Noah and Isaac were born, I can’t ignore the elephant in the corner. The elephant being, in a desperate bid to survive, be comfy, pay for “luxuries” (Chinese take-out, one week holiday a year, blah blah), that we’re spending increasingly less time as an actual family. So, The Mr sees his children approximately 15-30 minutes a day, because he works from around 5:30am til 5:30pm (getting in after 6pm). On the weekends, he ends up running around the house like a crazy person, trying to tidy everything up, because I’ve not had time to do it in the week. Saturdays at peak time I barely see them. Sundays are pretty much our “day together”, though I end up working some of it as it’s the only time I get with The Smalls supervised.
During the week, I actually hate myself. A recent tweet made me actually see red. Something along the lines of “Moms complaining about having to look after their kids and not working; well don’t have kids then.” I’m paraphrasing (and I sure as hell won’t name and shame), but my initial and very valid argument was that circumstances change.
I ended up putting in official complaints against the company I worked for, as they treated me rather unpleasantly once I fell pregnant. I can take a fair amount of shit, hell I come to expect it, but some of the stuff of they came out with was spectacular. As a result, I was in no position but to resign. Nothing like being shoved out of, what was at the time, your dream job.
I loved that job.
And so I quietly freaked out about how the hell I was going to make enough money to compliment The Mr’s income, and ultimately, help us survive.
Maybe that’s what spurs me on to work so damn hard in the job I’m in now. I need to put in everything I have, literal and actual blood, sweat and tears to get off the ground and establish my name. I can’t begin to think how many times I’ve actually cried over it, wondering what the fuck am I doing.
But at what cost?
The Smalls are not neglected, at all. I don’t do as much as I would like with them, by any means. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m not a natural mom (whatever one of those is). But I try, y’know? I make sure they’re ok, I let them know they’re loved. But it feels like I’m doing it on my own, all the time. In order for us to survive, until I’m making suitable income, The Mr works almost every waking hour of The Smalls. As a result, he pretty much never sees them. I regularly tell him to stop, to wind it down, but I don’t think we can. I don’t think he can. I know he wants us to be comfortable, to live a life where we don’t feel hard done by. Or whatever.
But at what cost?
We choose the lives we lead, I’m told.
I didn’t ask to be in a position where, in order to not lose my marbles in the corporate world (or y’know, just having a job), I would have to choose a job in which I start everything from scratch. And yet, projected figures for next year show I’d just be able to earn more than the pittance I was earning in my previous job.
But at what cost?
The Smalls don’t understand what I do, they don’t understand what The Mr does. They just know that we’re involved in photos and roads, weddings and diggers, cameras and building sites. And they know we work stupidly hard, all the time. As The Mr and I are both self employed/freelance, they can’t understand everything we have put in, individually and together, to get to where we are.
We’ve come a long, LONG way.
Now if we could just have the time to do it as two parents together, instead of two parents like ships in the evening roughly around bedtime routine, then that would be nice. We’re a few years away from that yet; I feel the pressure of building my business to a point where we are BOTH secure. Where I could actually take some of the financial weight so we can enjoy the things we want to enjoy. Or perhaps, just live a life which is comfortable. We could live less extravagantly, it’s true. I don’t deny that. Very few people in my life now, know of the lifestyle in which I grew up. I’ve been at the bottom, I know what it’s like.
And maybe I just don’t want that for The Smalls.
I just hope that everything we’re doing now, for them, for us, all of us, is not detrimental to our lives now, and sufficiently rewarding for the future. Otherwise I’m probably going to feel quite pissed off.