23 May Life Lately: Mom Guilt and Tantrums
It’s been a long while since I last caught you up on what’s been happening in our little lives. The last few months have been full of changes, both good and somewhat challenging. I have been focusing on growing this little space and creating content that I am proud of but every now and then, I get this strange feeling that I am failing and that perhaps it is time that I quit and spend my time elsewhere.
I guess the feeling is accompanied by the heaps of mom guilt that I have. After Darren was retrenched last year, a lot of the pressure to make ends meat, fell on me. I went into a working spiral where my life was consumed by work, whether on my blog or in my virtual assistant position. I put in extra hours and looked for once-off freelancing gigs. In February, it felt like the world was falling apart, but I wouldn’t let it and by April, I was starting to catch my breath. This month, I am officially able to breathe and it felt great but it seems that we’re preparing for our next spiral of unknown challenges and I can’t help but want to scream, “will it always be this hard?”
Axl is growing up, and becoming the most gorgeous little boy – yes, I am his mother and all mothers say that, but I am allowed to. He is fascinated by “boy-things,” like wrestling his Barney, that is a little bit bigger than him. He loves dinosaurs, sharks, planes, bikes, boats, cars (any form of transportation!) and enjoys sticking stickers on just about everything. He is cheeky, full of quirk and hates having his teeth brushed or nappy changed, but funnily enough takes 2-3 baths a day – if we allow it.
Terrible Twos is in full swing and most days, it’s all about choosing my battles. Is it really THAT important for him to wear both of his socks? Would it be easier to swap his zipper-hoodie for a normal over the head hoodie? Do we really have to take all 20 cars with us to the shops, just for him to insist on another one? Should he be allowed 2 Kinder-Joys, just for the toys inside? Am I bad mom for making brushing his teeth, a two-man mission, where D has to hold his feet while I hold arms and brush his tiny little teeth? Is ice-cream before lunch really that big of a bad deal? Do we really have to sit through another badly scripted Dinosaur movie? Should he be allowed to watch YouTube? These are just some of the many questions I ask myself while taking a shower, (while he stands at the door crying.)
Going to the shops has become an impossible mission usually accompanied by screaming, hitting and body slamming tantrums because he isn’t allowed a R400 Hot Wheels set with a dinosaur ramp. It has gotten to the stage that I am strongly considering planning our trips around the times that granny can watch him. We’ve never had a schedule of visits and family usual visit when they have a minute, but for the most part, he is at home with us. Maybe that needs to change. Maybe it’s time he stays at home with granny, while we do the shopping, at least until this phase has passed.
I have subtly mentioned that I worry about his vocabulary but have finally accepted that Axl is a late talker. He has a brilliant mind, a problem solver just like his dad, he is independent, creative, imaginative, but he doesn’t talk… because he doesn’t have to. He doesn’t have other kids or siblings to compete or communicate with and when he has to communicate with us, if he screams long enough, we eventually figure out what it is that he wants. It’s gotten to the point where I know it’s not that he can’t speak but just that he doesn’t want to. Weirdly, my step-dad refused to talk until he was 5, as his dad gave him a hiding for saying a bad word – they took him to a specialist who said that he will talk when he wants to and that there was nothing wrong with him. Last week, I was getting frustrated with Axl because I couldn’t figure out what he wanted and out of nowhere, clear as day, he announced, “cheeeeeese!” like I was stupid, for not knowing. Since then, I have started insisting he tells me what it is he wants and half the time it is gibberish (or French, because he has been watching a few videos in French lately) but other times, he surprises me and tells me that he wants juice, milk, to go in the car, to go and bath, to play with the ball, to ride his bike, to watch dinosaurs, or sharks, or planes. When asked repeatedly to tell me what he wants, he eventually does. Sure, it takes time, patience and this constant feeling like why the hell didn’t I pick up on this sooner, but I am grateful that he has the ability and there isn’t something wrong with his hearing or speech.
I guess now that Axl has crawled out of the baby phase, there is this creeping want for a second kid and if it weren’t for my constant worrying of money and how am I going to afford this month’s rent, I probably would already be knocked up. When Axl was born, we were determined he would be our only kid because we figured we’d never be able to give him the life he deserves, if we were to have more kids. But these days, we’re starting to see that maybe we’re wrong and perhaps we will just make a plan because that’s how most people do it, right? I guess I am worried that if I am already plagued with mom guilt now, how will I survive it times two – or will it make it any easier, having each other? Most of all, I am scared my kid misses out on the bond that comes along with having siblings. Darren has 2 sisters and I have 3. I didn’t get to “grow up” with mine, but I still feel that sibling role sink in, whenever I speak to them and as you know, there is nothing I wouldn’t do to protect any of my sisters. I’d love to have more – but perhaps now isn’t the best time.
As for me, work is consuming much of my day. It is officially the start of summer in America which means it is the busiest time of the year for the events company that I work for. Some days, I find myself working until 1 or 2 in the morning, which doesn’t help me when Axl is’getting up in a few hours, but I get more work done at night, when it is cooler, quieter and the rest of the world seems like it is at a standstill. At work, we’ve just changed over to a new unit which is smaller than our old one, it gives me anxiety as I always have to be prepared for the “shit-storm” from the mom who does not accept that we no longer use the old unit. In addition to my usual tasks, we’ve been really busy at the second company two, building and fabricating more gaming units and slowly taking over the industry. I really love the job but just don’t believe it is something that I will be doing for the rest of my life, besides distance being an issue, the work doesn’t always stimulate or challenge me like it once had and perhaps that’s why I have started to become restless.
Blog wise, you may remember that I mentioned a body positivity challenge a little while back. No, I haven’t forgotten all about it, I have just been working on a few things to make this challenge the absolute best that it can be. I can’t give away too many details just yet, but what I can say is that things are getting really exciting and I can’t wait to share this journey with all of you!
Last week, I also spoke at the EC Meetup, where I shared the little that I know about blogging. The event has proven to be an excellent networking opportunity and I have since been consulting on blogs and helping others in the community with growing their own blog. It’s been such an awesome experience as this is definitely something that I am passionate about and a new direction that I would love to pursue, especially for the sake of Project;Blog.
D went back to work for his dad for 2 months, while they needed his help on a project. But it was a temporary position and last week, he came back home. I sort of missed having his presence but Axl and I found our routine and we worked around it. Now that D is back at home, it is back to freelancing and designing websites. He has been doing really well these last few months and I can’t help but beam with pride when I see just how well he is doing on his own, especially when everyone else kept telling him that he wouldn’t be able to.
Last month, we spent two nights in Alicedale, at the Bushman Sand’s Golf Estate. The break was definitely what we needed and it was great being a 40-minute drive from home so that even if we had to cut the trip short, we were close enough from home. Darren and I were actually chatting about it yesterday, and we were saying how neither of us like being away from home but being out there was so comforting. There was no pressure to do anything and for the most part, we all lazed about, watching old movies on DSTV, riding golf carts, going for lunch and spending time around the pool. There wasn’t a schedule, there was no internet so people left us alone and it was just the three of us. Even Axl fitted right in and made his dinosaurs a home, on their own sleeper-couch (where he was meant to sleep, but the king-sized bed was big enough for a full family cuddle!). Coming back to reality was bittersweet, I was so grateful to finally get a break after 2,5 years of working every day, holidays, birthdays and everything in between. But when I got back, I was exhausted and I kept saying to myself, but you can’t be – you just had this break, you have to work harder, do better. The result was that I worked myself into a bundle of tears and frustration – a reminder that I am a human and even when I try to be, I can’t be a machine.
Last week, I was reminded that my role as a mom should always come first and with Axl being so independent, I can sometimes get lost in a pile of workwith ease. Axl was watching videos while I was on a call with a customer. He often lies on the floor at the end of my bed. He had already bathed and eaten dinner so was just looking for quiet time but when I noticed he was being too quiet, I peered over and saw that he had fallen asleep. I felt horrible – how did I miss that he was so tired, how did he go to sleep without any loves from mom, or any cuddles. He didn’t ask for his usual milk, he wasn’t nagging – he just fell asleep, on his own. Yes, he is growing up – but he is only two! For the rest of the night, I felt inadequate and useless not because I wasn’t needed but because I missed saying goodnight to him, kissing him on his head and saying how much I love him. My time with him is so limited and soon he will be out with friends, too big to kiss his mom, cringing at my lame jokes and not bothered by me working, so I need to appreciate this time with him, learn to turn off so that I can embrace the little bit of time that I do have with him, as a toddler albeit a tatruming toddler, but my toddler no less.
So that’s me caught up – what have you been doing, seeing and what milestones have your kids reached recently, I want to know!