Sunday, 29 April 2007

Reflections

My Beloved is back in the country (but still in transit), although apparently his luggage is not, and Pirate Jim is tucked up in bed, and we have somehow, miraculously, survived another day.

I feel very guilty about two emotions that I have had over the last week or so: apprehension at spending three whole days alone with PJ - will we both survive? And impatience, watching the clock and counting the hours until he's in bed and I can get something done. (I don't mean anything of note - the dishes, for example, or vacuuming, or putting away the clean washing). Not very motherly emotions. Nor is it very motherly to look forward to Monday when I go to work and will have 8 whole hours without standing in spilt juice or rescuing the cat or saying "no" a gazillion times.

Right now PJ is of an age where he needs someone's attention all the time. And especially with his Papa away, that someone has been me. He is the sweetest little boy, ambushing me for "cuddle" when I least expect it, batting his eyes while saying "please" and getting excited about the simplest things, but damn he is wilful. And explosive if he doesnt get his way, which happens every 5 seconds some days, or so it seems.

I know I'm not the first parent to discover this, and certainly not the last, (the "terrible twos" apparently) but I am just so TIRED. He's just one child, for heaven's sake! Why does it feel like I'm wrangling a 800 kg bull sometimes instead of a toddler?

Having a baby changed my feelings and perspectives on more things than I could possibly have imagined. I now have a huge heartfelt amount of respect for parents who stay home with their kids full-time and don't have so much time in the "adult world". Even though my Beloved takes a very active role in parenting Pirate Jim, I frankly don't think I would manage being at home with him every single day. I can't imagine how I would have coped just a generation ago - my dad worked shift work, and when my younger brother was born, was working 2 shifts out of three in a 24-hour period. He was barely home, and my mum managed almost entirely on her own (and without a car!). Have you read the widely circulated "tips for the housewife" from the 1950s that included having the children fed and neat when their father came home, and being lipsticked and fresh yourself, with dinner on the table and a willing ear for his problems? I'm amazed there wasnt wholesale insanity - actually, probably there was, but one didnt talk of these things.

How single parents manage to raise their kids, keep a house running and in many cases further themselves by studying for example, is beyond me. This week I feel as if I have barely keep this place from burning down or blowing up, and have a mental list that reaches to Alice Springs of "things I'll do when it's back to normal". If I was on my own, I'm not sure I'd get around to cleaning the bathroom for another 5 years, let alone cleaning out the pantry or having a haircut.

So, total respect to anyone who can keep their ship upright and perhaps even sailing when it's crewed by under-18's!

That said, there have been some pretty fun times in the last two weeks, like when Mum cooked us roast chicken, and Pirate Jim helped out.

First, inspect the chook:



Make the stuffing:


Then, stuff the chook:



Sorry, no pics of the finished dish, but damn it was good! Even Pirate Jim enjoyed it (I mention that because eating "meals" is not an easy thing right now).

And of course it wasnt all that bad, since I made it to SnB on Tuesday last, and got a bit of knitting done here and there. We had a really lovely day today, only a couple of small tantrums and some fantastic cuddles.

I'm quite postive we'll come out the other side of toddler-hood in one piece, as everyone else does, and look back on it fondly. Its just that my pantry will probably be in need of a damn good clean out by then.

G x




4 comments:

Taphophile said...

Strength to you, Georgie. There would be several very good reasons why so many women of my mother's generation relied heavily on Valium and the like.

Jejune said...

Totally normal reactions... two and three year olds are an exhausting law unto themselves, and no self-respecting adult spends more time with them than they have to. Be assured, it does get easier :)

I was just about a single mum while hubby did his PhD, and we had 2 kids within 2/5 years... I honestly don't know how I got through those years. It's very hard. And I didn't have a job to juggle as well - so don't feel badly. You're doing well!

Glad the Beloved is nearly home again - and love the chook stuffing pics :)

Bells said...

the little ones certainly take stamina George. Anyone would be feeling a bit that way.

On a selfish note, I read outpourings like yours and think, gee, maybe I shouldn't be so desperate to have a baby - it sounds like such hard work. But I'm sure it's all worth it.

Georgie said...

It might be hard work Bells, but it is also the most rewarding and life-changing thing you will ever do! My fingers are crossed for you.

Even though some days I threaten to leave him out for the garbos, I wouldnt change it for the world. I might complain after a few stressful days, but in the long run, it is good fun.

Except maybe a bit more sleep.....