Friday, 16 September 2011

when i was a very young mother, or at least mother to very young children, i loved a free magazine called "sydney's child". it was a little bit radical at times but always relevant and well written but it wasn't easy to get hold of because the limited number of copies distributed to pharmacies and pre-schools and so on was snaffled pretty much on the day of delivery and if you hadn't noticed by now i am not a person to know a magazine's publishing dates.
yesterday i had opportunity to pick up a copy and even though it's not really relevant to me anymore, except that i once had small children, i couldnt resist a copy.

it was an interesting little journey to read. there was someone talking about the impossibility of getting sick when one is a parent, she finally admitted she was ill when she collapsed in the hallway just as she was about to do the school run. someone else was saying that motherhood isn't the utopia she imagined and that we should be more open about the tough bits, another talking about the germ phobia she has developed since her first child had a frail and sickly toddlerhood and another talking about how ugly she felt when her body was permanently changed by pregnancy, going on to say how her five year old's passing comment on her beauty transformed her outlook.

i wanted to tell the person who had the flu that her kids are probably better at taking care of themselves than she gives credit for, my lot are all teens now of course but they were very young when they were able to help themselves to some kind of food, pack their school bags, dress themselves and walk to school if neccessary. i also wanted to tell her that all those essentials she had been focussing on while she ignored her body's warnings were not so essential. i find it tiresome when women act as if civilisation itself will collapse if the kids eat jam sandwiches and orange juice for a couple of days, or the school uniforms aren't clean everyday or the toilet smells.

i wanted to tell the one who lost her rose coloured glasses that it's never perfect, we all need at least one person in our lives who is "dark" they are a welcome antidote to all our expectations of hollywood perfect lives.

the one with the germ phobia, who said she wasnt neurotic, i just wanted to hit her upside the face. she was neurotic and her science was bad. (not that she made any pretence of being scientific)

and the the ugly one made beautiful by her boy? well, my children have believed in me and affirmed me and i hope i can be gracious in accepting their praise because there is nothing so irritating as someone who wont take a compliment.

i feel like a veteran but the one thing that makes me realise i really am an old hand at this mothering thing is that i dont care about the books anymore, i dont obssess over a whole lot (although i have been more nervous about end of year exams than the students themselves) and i no longer think it's ever going to stop. i adore my kids but they are not a novelty, they are an intrinsic part of who i am.


  1. I want a jam sandwich

  2. go ahead, the jam is in the cupboard and the knife is in the drawer and and for crying out loud dont put the jammy knife down o n the counter

  3. I was never tough enough for kids. Dogs are enough of a challenge.

  4. i'm not at all sure about that snow xx

  5. You seem to have developed a refreshingly matter of fact attitude to children, housekeeping and life in general. Too many people go around obsessed with what others might think of them, or expect of them, and turn themselves into chronic neurotics.

    Germ phobia is a weird and irrational thing. Germs are absolutely everywhere and the idea of purging them all is obviously nuts. But the brain can be stubbornly resistant to logical argument.

  6. Well put Kylie! As parents we often think the sun simply will not come up if we don't do everything book perfect for our kids. Their safety, their health, their education - all critical but beyond that, oh hell stop being a parent martyr and let them be - kids!

  7. Great post Kylie I'll be back to comment further my boss just walked in....

  8. nick,
    thank you! i dont know about "refreshingly matter of fact" i'm possibly closer to terminally lazy!

    the thing about any phobia is that it's not logical and not susceptible to logical argument, luckily germs are not one of mine because they are so unavoidable i would probably have a breakdown :)

    benign neglect is good for creativity :)

  9. Alfred John Dawkins once said to the gathered family Mr ****** is a master of achievment by studied neglect.

    Sydney's Child I still see piles of them at the St George Pharmacy.

    The best jam sandwich is defined by the presence of blackberry jam. In real grain bread not that white cardboard masquarading as "bread".

    Some people have a phobia about crocodiles and Sydney Funnel web spiders especially after they have
    been bitten. I don't like sitting in the rear seat of 2 door,4 seater cars. What phobia is that?

  10. I think some of us just mother by instinct. I've always let my lot get muddy, eat strawbs from the vine .. they're pretty well adjusted and normal.


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