Sunday, 29 December 2013


I just came across a post on a forum asking "What would you change about your character?" or something thereabouts.

My first response was "thank fuck it's not just me who has those thoughts!"

Then I started to think about what it is I would actually like to change.

I would like to be less lazy, and perhaps part of this is being less tired. I would like to feel healthier and look after my body better, perhaps trying to work out if my occasional bloating and/or nausea is related to a particular food group. Currently I struggle to eat regularly, and cutting out or even down on food groups is really detrimental to that, ie, I end up eating nothing.

I would like to be able to think and plan ahead more coherently. Often I make plans but they are so vague that they never actually happen or the timescale isn't set so it's too late by the time I get around to doing something. I think my current most commonly said or thought words are "Oh, I was going to..." which is a crock of shit, really. Like I say to my son, no, you weren't "going to". If you were really going to, you'd have done it by now. I want to get in that mindset - have an idea now, do it yesterday. Or at least, immediately plan when it's going to happen, and then stick to that.

I would like to enjoy my son's company more. Often he gets the shitty end of me, when I don't really enjoy the activity, or it's OK but I'm a little more irritated by his totally normal five year old behaviour than I should be. I have a book about this, "When Your Kids Push Your Buttons", which is great, but I frequently don't notice that I've got into a slanging match with him until somebody points this out. I swear NORMAL parents don't do this with their 5 year olds. I find I enjoy his company when we're around other kids, or other adults. I find it really sad for him that our alone time isn't as good. I just can't get that connection right now.

I suppose that all of these are probably related and I do find that I can fake it to a certain extent but if I am honest I feel pretty hopeless about changing them and I can't imagine myself in those roles.

So, I decided to think back to, say, 10 years ago, when I was 15. Fuck, there were a LOT of things I wanted to change back then, that I probably wouldn't recognise myself now. Unfortunately (or fortunately, ha, it's probably a GOOD thing) I no longer have any of my teenage diaries so I can't check exactly what I was angsting about back then, but I'm sure I can have a good guess.

Teenage angst #1: I wish I had bigger boobs. Or existant boobs.
Well, done that one :D While I can still comfortably get away with not wearing a bra, I have a decent boobage now that I'm perfectly happy with.

Teenage angst #2: I will never get a boyfriend or be popular, I wish people liked me.
Hmm. While I wish I could go back in time and tell my 15 year old self that this really didn't matter as much as I thought, I do now have a fantastic boyfriend (who I happened to know at 15!) and soon to be husband. And I also know now that it's absolutely nothing to do with any man-attracting "skill" as it were but more about finding a person who matches YOU and that is possible for absolutely any person in the world.

Teenage angst #3: I wanted to be less awkward and more confident in general.
OK, THIS is what I meant. This is a personality thing that I've actually changed and I think my confidence and the amount that I hide or brazen out my awkwardness is AWESOME and I don't think my 15 year old self would recognise me. This is inspiring, this is me growing and changing as a person, and proving that I can.

Teenage angst #4: I want a baaaaaaaaaaby!

Teenage angst #5: I'm late all the time for everything.
Actually I'm better at this now. It's called building in time for stuff. It works but I have to remember to do it every time, which in practice means I'm on time for work but late to meet friends and, you know, blog and stuff and do other non-routine things. Sorry guys.

OK, but seriously. I have actually changed a lot in the last 10 years, probably in the last 5 years. I am braver. I am more confident. I am FAR more assertive. I take a little bit better care of my body. I am a tiny bit more organised (hey, these things take time). I am more likely to speak my mind, I have stronger opinions, I am less afraid to share those opinions. I have made changes, some which would have seemed impossible. Who am I to say that the changes I want to make now are so insurmountable?

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

I can't be that person

I am not the mother that I want to be.

I am patient but only when I am not tired, which is most of the time. I am too easily irritated. I blow up in a rage too easily (I am getting better at avoiding this). I don't always enjoy the company of my son - THAT is the worst one, for me, the bringer of the biggest load of guilt. God, how I used to "feel sad" for kids whose parents didn't want to spend every waking moment with them. Hi guise. I am sorry. Please can I join your club?

When he was tiny I had all of these expectations and plans and everything was going to be perfect. Well, I failed my first hurdle when I tried EC (elimination communication). That's where you hold them over a pot every time you think they need a wee, and somehow your superior connection with them allows them to do this. Skips potty training. Yeah, failed that one. Once he could crawl he didn't want to be held over a potty, he wanted to be out there, crawling and doing stuff. Didn't potty train until he was over 3. Still won't poo anywhere other than home two years later.

I was going to get him used to all of these lovely home cooked foods and instead when we were first on our own we had no oven and no microwave, he lived off veggieburgers and frozen veg for months and then stopped eating and since then has been the fussiest eater ever. I see people whose children eat couscous and chickpeas and soup - fucking soup!! - and feel shit. Baby-Led weaning, you lied.

I was useless at wrap slings. I forgave myself for this one (like I forgave myself for the EC thing, once I realised MOST PEOPLE DON'T DO THIS and IT IS A MAD IDEA.)

I think I took from my mum, and my grandma, that to be a good mother you just had to be kind. And so I sort of sat back and relaxed, because I am pretty kind, I am a nice person, job done. I read all of these theories and they fitted in with my "be kind" mantra, and I think I felt like I was done. This is the old "clever but lazy" thing coming out in me again from school. Oh yes. I have the theories, I know how to do this right, I have great ideas about how to carry it out, too. This will be awesome. Do you know what I did this year? I planned little activities to do every day of Advent to celebrate Christmas and get the Christmas excitement flowing. Well, it's the 11th of December, 2 weeks to go and we have done not one thing on that list.

This is just, basically, a perfect illustration of every fucking thing I do. I have a good idea. I get really psyched about the idea. It's going to be fun. It's really going to work this time - look, I made a pretty colour coded chart and everything! Then, whatever it is happens, I'm motivated for maybe the first one or two, if that, and then I fall back on my usual which is to do nothing and stay up on the internet for hours.

It's some kind of torture. I know exactly what I want to do, I watch myself not do it, and then I have the exact details of what I should have done (and failed to do, again) differently to beat myself up with. Maybe my standards are too high and I'm setting myself up to fail, I don't know. But, to be honest, even when I make myself a totally piss-easy target I fall short from that after a short while, and I get down because it's not even that I don't do something well enough, it's that I quite often don't do it at all.

It gets me down. I can't seem to be the person I so desperately want to be. Hell, I can't even seem to be a normal person who functions adequately.