Mummies repeat after me…self care isn’t selfish, its self preservation.
Its been a while since my last (tired and teary) blog post and I wish I could say I’ve been sleeping all this time but motherhood waits for no woman so I’ve had to get my shit together. When I first had Arlo, I was cocky. Sure, motherhood is relentless but its really not that bad, I thought naively. And even just after Eia was born, I thought I was bossing it with the two of them. But it slowly started to dawn on me that with hubby working away and having just moved to a foreign country with a new baby and toddler, I was well on my way up shit creek. I had a paddle originally but at some point in the last 3 months it just fucked off, leaving me with nothing but my dick in my hands and not a bloody clue about what the hell I’m doing. And I’m taking on water. Or someone is peeing on me. That my friend, is parenthood.
Like all mums I’ve had my share of rough nights, boo hoo me, but something broke in me that night and I’m not even going to try to put the pieces back together the same way. Nothing changes if nothing changes so after that night of – it would be too melodramatic to call it complete hell so lets just go with – purgatory, I fixed the hole in my boat, remembered I also have a sail so to hell with the paddle, or lack thereof, and I used the winds of change to get back on track. Chin up, charge the mountain. Boom.
Hubs and I had spoken previously about putting Arlo into pre-school for two mornings a week at some point. Well, that shitty night lit a fire under me. He started the following week. It doesn’t help with the baby sleeping at night but those precious few hours each week give me a little break from the really tough parenting gig so I can be a better and more patient mum the rest of the time, at least that’s how I sold it to hubby. There were tears the first few times, Arlo’s and mine, but now he loves ‘school’ especially the principal, Pak Sudi. Though I don’t get his sense of humour. I was there an hour when he asked me if maybe I (or anyone I know) would like to volunteer a couple of times a week as a native english speaker in the older kids class. HA! You’re joking right? He was not. I don’t like children. I mean, I like my children, obviously, but other peoples…hmmm, not so much. I’m sending my kid to nursery to get a break from his crazy beautiful – I’d sooner walk barefoot across a yard of lego before offering myself up willingly to a room full of feral five year olds. But my mouth said ‘I’ll ask around‘. As for Eia now, I’m getting to know my sweet girl better as she’s being treated to my full attention when its just us. And when she naps, I can binge on Netflix, swim or do yoga. The very things I wanted to do, needed to do, to relax in the evenings but can never manage with all the drama around sleeping. But now we can all have cake and eat it too! Nursery where have you been all my life! Or, all his life.
The second thing that needed to change was transport. Having a driver was a nice luxury to begin with but I was really grieving this loss of independence and when Arlo took ill in the middle of the night and we had to wait for the car to take us to hospital, that was the catalyst for change. The next day we got a car. First day out on my own – it had been a few months since I drove so it took me a little while to figure out where the noise was coming from as we pulled onto the main road. Checked the windows, all up. My door was closed. Passenger door too. Holy Mary Mother of God, Arlo’s door is wide open and flapping about in the wind. He’s managed to get his arms out of his seat belt and open the frigging thing! I’m trying not to raise the alarm as Hardin is on the phone after I’ve literally just called him, all smug and stupid:
Me: Hey honey, guess where we are? In the car! Wish me luck!”
Him: Why is it so noisy?
Me: Erm…I’ve got the window open.
Him: Why don’t you put the air con on you numpty?
Him: I’ll let you go honey, you need to concentrate.
Me to myself: Yeh, no shit sherlock.
I hang up and pull over immediately. Now, where are those bastard child locks?!
Driving in Indonesia has been an education. Or really its been more of an un-education as I shelve everything I know about driving. So far, these are the lessons I’ve gleaned from my time on the road.
- Motorbikes move like schools of fish. Be a whale. They’ll move around you.
- Lanes pose a philosophical question – just because there are two lanes doesn’t mean there are two lanes. Sometimes two is three, or four. But one is never one.
- Roundabouts are just for decoration, you don’t actually go around them…how stupid would that be!
- Pavements are for pedestrians. And mopeds. And gerobaks. And the occasional cow.
- Driving the ‘right way’ down the road is subjective. If it suits you to drive the wrong way, have at it. But don’t forget your hazard lights! That makes it ok.
- In Indonesia, mopeds are used as people carriers and/or SUV’s. Neither is mutually exclusive and I’m in awe of this fact. Dad is often the driver with a kid standing between his legs, maybe even a dog too. Mum is side saddle on the back, on her phone or eating fried rice with a baby strapped to her front while another child sleeps, yes sleeps, in the space between maw and paw. And in Indonesia theres nothing you can’t tie to a moped. Chickens, ladders, eggs, a fridge – anything is possible.
- Always carry cash. In your pockets.
It’s madness. I love it!
When Hardin is home, I get enough of a rest having him to tag out with. A long lie or an offer for him to take the kids for a bit is great but when he’s home I wanna spent time all together as a family. So we’ve worked out a solution. I’m not much of a fashion kinda girl, fitness and the outdoor life has always been my bag but having had two kids in close succession put the brakes on things a bit but with Eia in particular becoming a little more independent in the day time at least, it’s giving me some time to focus on activity again, which has been good physically and mentally. We’ve taken the kids climbing but mostly surfing.
In Bali, the beach is an extension of home. The kids are practically being raised in water! Either we all go together and the kids play on the beach building sandcastles and drinking coconuts with one of us while the other is on the water or more recently I tried an early morning session. Getting up at 5am feels totally different when its your choice! The conditions were glassy and mellow, I beat the crowds and managed a couple of hours on the water before enjoying a quiet cup of coffee on the beach while I dried off. I was home just after 9am to boob Eia to sleep for her nap and didn’t miss any family time as they’d all been asleep! Success! My hubby jokes happy wife, happy life but happy mums raise happy kids so I’m gonna do me for a bit. At 5am….