What does a good mum look like?
I want to tell a story about yesterday. And then perhaps it will make sense.
My youngest daughter – the JBaby – turned 5 yesterday. It seems crazy to me that my littlest little is now 5 years old. How did that happen? How could I have foreseen where 5 years would take us?
The day before her birthday in the afternoon she was tired after a massive morning play-date and apparent “nerves” about her impending birthday.
We disagreed over her hitting her sister (as in, I didn’t think it was appropriate as I do with most man-handling of your siblings) and I sent her to her room, and one the way as she flounced she yelled out “You are just a fuckin!!!!”. Later she accused me of being a “Ditch”.
When she calmed down enough to speak about it (and I had stopped wanting to retell the “Fuckin” story over and over) she say she was feeling “Frusta-rated, Nervous and Excited” about her birthday. She finds me very “frusta-rating” and often “selfish” in the way I talk to her and that I won’t let her slap her sister for going in her room (even though I asked her sister to go help her find her pyjama’s).
So we ate some dinner because I felt that hunger was driving most of the swearing and after that she was a lot calmer and even joyful. She often says to me she has “Joy” in her head (she’s watched “Inside Out”) and if there was a word I would have always used to describe her it was joyful. But now she is 5. And sometimes she is not at all about joy, and has strong opinions and ideas and doesn’t want to be bossed around by her 7-year-old sister.
On her birthday she got another bike (because the one I brought for her last birthday is still too big). She’s an awesome bike-rider. She put on a new sparkly dress and new green sandals and rode the bike around and after boiled eggs in bed (she only eats the white, which drives me crazy) she left for school.
After school we had planned a birthday Olaf Pool Party. Invited a few little friends from school and family and some of my friends and her sisters’ friends. And here’s how yesterday went for me…
After the super early morning start, bike (built by my favourite guy), breakfast in bed, new dress and much excitement, my lovely au pair took girls 3 off to school. I managed a shower and started my work call at 10am. I found another one of my people (she was on that call) and she’s doing the next Incubator. We had the BEST conversation, but the most exciting bit is that I know (in my bones) that I can help her get what she wants. Fist pump. Then I walk to one of my favourite local coffee shops, Flowvitality (so much goodness in one word huh?) for a coffee with someone who is studying to be a Life Coach and wanted to interview me (funnily enough she’s seen me all over FB) about being a coach. I spent an hour with her talking about many things, but mostly how some people need to hear her message so she should just start now and trust that she won’t get delivered more than can manage, and if she does it’s OK to say ‘I don’t know the answer to that but I’ll find out and get back to you OR I’m not sure I have the skills to help you with that just yet but this person is amazing at that’. She hugged me after. I hope she starts soon. Before she’s ‘ready’ (because you know, when are you ever ready?). Then I walked home and had another call with another person who’s totally my person and wants to work with me, so we have a plan in place so she too can get what she wants. So many words, and so many ideas. These people found me through my writing and the amazing creature that is Facebook. And they are so my people, which makes conversations with them SO easy.
After that I was a bit talked out to be honest and had to have a quick lunch break, and get focussed on some other businessy tasks. I’m getting a PA on Monday because suddenly there is not really enough time for EVERYTHING and I really can’t do everything, nor do I want to. As I’ll illustrate further in just a minute. And then I wrote.
Then it was 3pm and I came out. The birthday party was scheduled for 4pm. Here’s what was done:
- The house was clean, the platters of food were made and in the fridge, the Olaf birthday cake was made, all the shopping was done, the outside patio area was clean and decorated with balloons and Olaf things. My incredible au pair had done ALL of this. She was also off picking the girls up from school.
- My swimming pool was sparklier than it has been in a while, with a new cleaner set up and going. My pool company did this, Splash, owned by my sister-in-law (lets not get technical, because the words are out-dated, but she’s the sister of my ex-husband and the aunty to my girls)
- My brother-in-law (lets not get technical, because the words are out-dated, but he’s the guy who is the Dad of my sister’s children, and my children’s uncle) went and got the gas-bottle filled for me for the BBQ. I am a sexist pig but I couldn’t do this because it’s a man job.
- My mother-in-law (lets not get technical, because the words are out-dated, but she’s the Mum of the father of my three youngest children and she’s their Nan) made the most spectacular Olaf piñata, plus a sponge cake, and a cute Olaf costume for JBaby (who didn’t wear it until the end). It took about 30 minutes for 25 kids to break that thing.
- My favourite guy (the real guy, lets not get technical AT ALL) built her bicycle and cleaned the BBQ and cooked 48 sausages and supervised plenty of swimming (I think it was the quiet chair he liked).
- Miss 12 controlled the shit out of the party games, like a boss (I guess her Mum taught her. Eeeeeek) and musical bobs and musical statues were a hit.
- Everyone came and had fun and brought gifts (thank you SO much, they are beautiful and all the treasures were out at 6am on the trampoline) and danced and swam and smashed that piñata like it was an evil thing. It was intense, but amazing.
And do you know what I did? Cleaned up the pool yard, picked up some dog shit (I really can’t get anyone else to do that, even though my gardener does do it when he comes) and made everyone cups of tea/coffee/water when they arrived. AND before that? Sold my magic to people so they can get their magic out, inspired a young person and was simultaneously inspired by her and wrote for no reason except I had something to say.
So my question to you is what does a good mum look like? In your definition? And does doing everything serve you or it possible that there are people who (in their version and their way) can love and support and help you to do what it is you were put her to do?
I am so blessed and so grateful for the people we share out life with. I am so thankful that they love my children, and share parts of themselves with them, and help me because we are family (lets not get technical, but that is how it works right?). I dreamed of creating a solid foundation for my children and me. And perhaps I didn’t see at first how many people were connected to that. That it is not us in a solitary unit, but a community of people who can manage a crazy-ass 5th party however that looks. And it looked GOOD.