March 13, 2011

Me No More

After eleven years and ten months, I have finally lost my battle. My life has been completely hijacked and I have absolutely none left.

The kids have won.

Now, obviously my kids were supposed to take over my life. That is the nature of parenthood. As a mother, I was supposed to gracefully accept that my wishes and needs would forevermore come second to those of the small people in my care.
But still, there were things I did to protect myself from utter annihialation, to make sure that somewhere inside the Mum there remained a bit of ME; to enure that I retained my sanity when all around me were doing their absolute best to drain it away.

For this to occur, there were three Golden Necessities I had to maintain:

1. The kids had to be in bed at a decent hour so that I could get 30 minutes of child-free chore-free time before collapsing  unconscious on my pillow each night.

2. I had to have 15 minutes of peace each morning in which to eat my breakfast and read the paper to allow my brain (and sanity) to kick into gear before the long day ahead.

3. I needed to keep after school activities to a minimum - no more than two afternoons a week - to prevent a mad homework/dinner/bath rush every single afternoon.

And it worked. I stayed sane. Until now.

It began with bedtime. The older my son has got, the later he has gone to sleep (and damnit! he keeps getting older!). Now, at the age of eleven, he is rarely asleep before ten. This is absolutely fine, except that he insists on calling me into his room every five minutes to give me a detailed update on his failure to slumber. Which means no uninterrupted TV, no sex, and no relaxation for me until well after ten. I'm not so worried about the sex part, but the rest really bothers me.

The after school activities have also got completely out of hand. From just karate on a Monday and dance on a Friday, we suddenly have the addition of Barmitzvah* practice on a Tuesday, soccer training on Wednesday, debating Friday, softball Saturday and a soccer game Sunday. I am a slave to the diary. I am the Queen of Schlepping. And I HAVE NO LIFE.

Thankfully, though, I still have my precious fifteen minutes at the breakfast table every morning. I sit down with a nice steaming cup of WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I haven't had my special breakfast time since last year when Boo started creche and I actually had to feed and dress her before we left the house! I'm lucky if I get to gulp down a Berocca before 9am.
But it's fine. Really. All this racing around is no big deal. I may be a little flustered and short tempered, but I'm absolutely in control. And this twitch in my eye will pass any day now.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's 9.50pm and my son is calling me. And then I'd better go and have my coffee and eat my breakfast, because I sure as hell won't have time to do it in the morning.

*Barmitzvah - a coming of age ritual for the Jewish boy when he turns 13, in which he reads from the Bible in front of friends and family, and prays that his voice doesn't break in the middle of it.

27 comments:

  1. I SO know what you mean *nods knowingly, giggles quietly (so as not to wake the children)*

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  2. I HEAR YOU! And yes I am yelling, not at you - with you.
    God damn, just 5 minutes peace. If only life had a pause button, or better still the kids - yes that would work. I could pause just before Miss 2 yells first thing in the morning, just for another 15 minutes sleep, or that 15 minutes of adult time ..ahem... (okay 2), or better still 15 minutes where I can eat my museli without having to 1) let the cat in 2) tell Miss 2 she can't have marshmallows for breakfast or 3) wipe up the spilt juice. Again!

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  3. So far the only night I am ferrying free is Thursday night, but hockey season starts up shortly. Phew! Was fretting about what to do with all that precious free time!

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  4. The after school stuff is a killer. We have something on every single night too, and a lot of it (swim squad, gymnastics) involves me having to sit around and WATCH, which really adds insult to injury. That's what end of year concerts are for.

    The mornings though are a breeze. We're not Catholics, but our kids go to a Catholic school in our street because it buys me extra time before 8:45. I may be going to hell, but I will have been for a run, unpacaked the dishwasher, made lunches, put the washing on, had a shower, checked my emails and eaten my breakfast before my kids get up. It's not a bad trade off.

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  5. I can tell you all that it does get easier. When they reach mid to late teens, they are much more self sufficient. They require less of your time and less of your energy. Crap, who am I kidding? They don't. They just get bigger, eat more food, create more washing & give you bigger problems to deal with. There is no end to it. And just when you think there is, they probably reproduce and you've double the problems!

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  6. I miss the morning time - now they're up before me and thankfully leave me alone until I absolutely have to get up.

    So far I only have two afternoons a week for activities, but older son is demanding to do Auskick this year... I don't know if I can bear to lose my Saturdays... Booohoooo...!!!

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  7. Oh yes. Our Mr 11, (named more so for the time pm he finally S'sTFU, bless him) makes sure we have no evenings as he visits at regular intervals to complain he is not yet asleep and to see what we're trying to watch. Oh here he is now.

    Our Miss 4 already has swimming and is still bugging for dance lessons but her age group generally has classes on a Saturday. I feel mean but for now I'm still resisting extending our working week to Saturday mornings too. I may yet cave.

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  8. Just so you know .... it does get better ... and then there are grandchildren - all the fun with very little of the problems. As they say - if I knew grandkids were so much fun, I would have had them first.

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  9. Oh god - if only I had set boundries then maybe I would be able to , I don't know, sit on a couch in my living room, or eat at the table or, I don't know HAVE A CONVERSATION. sigh. My children own this house. I have a bed. That is it. my space. One bed. And I am NOT giving that up.

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  10. I am commenting on your blog at 6.40am on a public holiday in Victoria ( does that say it all ) - I feel your pain.
    I am a bit jealous though, you made it until your eldest was eleven, our chaos started in the five day a week madness when my eldest was nine
    Aaaaarg!

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  11. I have so much to look forward to!

    You could always eat your cereal on the way back from the school drop off as you drive along. I've seen others do it. It seems to work. x

    PS. The word verification for this comment is nontart. Thought that might make you laugh. x

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  12. Hiding spots - you need more hiding spots. Apologies if there are typos, it's a bit dark....I'm writing this from my bedroom wardrobe. Shhhhhh

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  13. Just be glad none of your kids do ballroom dancing.

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  14. Yeah, this is pretty much my life. Except add a daughter in Year 8 who likes me to sit beside her while she does her homework so that I can experience every single bit of it. AND she does ballet. DO NOT BEGIN BALLET.

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  15. Yes. Uh-Huh. Mmmmm. Nodding. All of this applies at WoogsWorld.

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  16. My kids are still young enough to be in bed at 7.30, lights off at 7.45 and no shouting to Mum after that because she is afflicted by sudden deafness.

    Mornings have never been my time so I don't really care what happens - I am a zombie waiting for the coffee to kick in.

    After school is still at two afternoons a week. But Mr4 doesn't do anything yet so I'm not counting my chickens.

    But, and here's the kicker, I now have an ironing basket. I think it's safe to say that the rot has well and truly begun.

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  17. I get so SICK of saying "hurry, we are going to be late". I say it so often I think my kids are going to grow up with a complex - though in saying that they never seem overly perturbed by my beggings. I made the clock on the microwave and in the car five minutes late to help kick things along, and it was working so well until my son decided to wear his watch to school last week and 'adjust' all the clocks in the house and car! We were late this morning :(

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  18. We are suffering exactly the same. With 14 month old bub and nearly 14 years old Talking Boy - we are copping it both ends of the day.
    In our dream house - which we are working towards - I am building a sound proof wing with a time delay lock. Once that door shuts baby, there is nothing that can be done to open it again and no-one who can be heard! Oh and I am getting my own tv so I can actually watch something, anything, without a running commentary. 'What's that guy doing?' 'Why did she say that?''What's going on?' 'I don't get it!' I have to bite my tongue so I don't say - 'If you just watched the f-ing thing, then you would know WTF was going on!'

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  19. OMG! I want my life back. Seriously I do. I am so tired of taking care of people who will not listen, co-operate, tell me what they want for school lunch, put their shoes away (my dining room is a shoe cupboard) and if I have to watch another episode of iCarly I will poke my eyes out with a stick. And if they would just bloody go to bed at 8pm like they used to, I might regain some of my former sanity and not be a complete psycho mom 24/7. That is all. Thanks for the opportunity to rant. Lx

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  20. Was it wrong of me to be excited about working with clients on Saturday instead of Mr 5's soccer carnival? No! I'd been the swimming,soccer, school taxi all week and I was very, very happy with how things panned out.

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  21. I LOVE the small amount of "me" time I get. Usually very late at night....or 5.30am (when I get out of bed).
    I wouldn't consider myself an excessively doting mum (eg. plenty of hissing through gritted teeth at shopping centres going on here)....but I genuinely never get tired of watching my daughter's activities....and I would ditch anything or anyone to be at both weekly practice or special events.

    Trish
    xx

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  22. .... "I sit down with a nice steaming cup of WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?"

    This made me laugh out loud, after a particularly terrible clusterfuck of a morning. Thank you for keepin' it REAL GIRLFRIEND.

    xo

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  23. Kerri, can you remind me of the UPSIDE of having kids ?

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  24. Why do you think I'm so excited to finally be in Australia? I'm KID FREE for one whole week!! I feel your pain, every inch of it. x

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  25. Detachable PrincessMarch 15, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    Thank goodness LittleDude and AJ are still young enough to be in bed at a decent hour. Quite often, AJ is asleep by 6pm, and LittleDude is in bed by 7.15pm. The payoff for this, though, is that they are both early risers. AJ has started screaming at 4am, and it takes a mighty effort to get him to settle down again until 5am. Meh, I say, the coffee shop opens at 5am anyway! :D

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  26. Couldnt stop laughing when i read this post, cant wait to read your book

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  27. You made me LOL yet again Kerri!

    I won't rub it in that both my kids were asleep before 7pm tonight, and hubby is working late. I have three blissful hours to do whatever I want.

    Here I was thinking that it gets easier as kids get older... apparently I was wrong!

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