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.