Sunday, 20 May 2012

going pro

A few days ago, in a rare moment of peace, I was browsing over some recipes in a magazine when I suddenly remembered that I had forgotten to bake bread for the soup I was making for supper. I leapt up - the girls were due home from playschool in 15 minutes and I didn't feel like a marathon kiddie baking project - and as swiftly as possible I switched on the oven to pre-heat, threw the ingredients together and had two loaf tins in the oven in under ten minutes. I then plonked back onto the couch to finish reading my mag.
Suddenly I realised what I had just done: since when did I throw together homemade bread in ten minutes?
In that moment I realised I have finally arrived, whole heartedly, into the role of mother and homemaker. This thought both depresses and impresses me. On one hand I feel, whoa, hold on here, who is this person rapidly on the road to practical hair cuts, beige clothing and Saturday mornings in the supermarket - when the waves are cooking! And on the other hand I thought, cool, you're getting good at the domestic thing. The easier it is, the quicker it is and and the more time there is for fun.
The truth is it's taken me nearly five years to feel that I have got a handle on this maternal occupation. In the first years of having my babies I felt like I was in a dress rehearsal for the role of mom while I watched other mothers get on with what needed to be done with seemingly little effort.
But slowly along the way I must have gained the skills necessary for the undertaking of motherhood. I no longer find planning and cooking supper a daunting excercise that requires a bottle of rescue remedy to cope with. Getting the girls ready for playschool in the morning, although tedious, is a walk in the park - I have even started to lie in bed until the last possible moment. Note: don't try this with two 4-year olds until you have stuck to the morning routine for at least 12 months, so that, like little trained monkeys, they do what is required every morning on cue - no arguments!
I think the kind of mother you are depends largely on the kind of mother you had. Mine was not the "tea party" kind of mom whatsoever. She was a hippie straight out of the sixties and brought us up on a vegetarian diet, Joni Mitchell and karmic threats. She had one baking recipe, banana loaf, that saved her at every school cake sale and as soon as we were old enough she packed us off to boarding school. I say this with no resentment but more with feelings of compassion, as I can now understand her justifications in doing this. I too have been tempted to enroll mine into a distant institution.
So after four different boarding schools and a decade in the non-conformed film industry it seems I may have missed a traditional training in domestics from my mother. This has left me having to learn through common sense, my friends and feeling a need deep within to provide what is good, whole and stable for my family. So being able to bake bread - let alone in ten minutes - and enjoy it, is a huge accomplishment for me as a mother.
<a href=">

Sunday, 6 May 2012

saying it like I feel it

This is what I really want to say to the twins on a Sunday morning:

Today I just don’t feel like being a mother. I only feel like worrying about one person: me. Okay?
No I don’t feel like pretending to eat the cookie out of the picture once, twice, six times! And I would really rather sit in the sun with my eyes closed listening to music than negotiate who has bigger feet between you two. I do not want to build that puzzle, put the ribbon in the dollie’s hair or come wipe your bum!
I just want to lie in bed and read my book, periodically putting it down so that I can leisurely mull over a thought that just occurred to me while watching a little bird hop on my windowsill. And no, I don’t feel like telling you about the sweet little robin that is hopping on the windowsill. I saw it first and I don’t need to share EVERYTHING with you just because you are my child and four years old!
I don’t mind what you eat for breakfast this morning, just make sure it’s vaguely healthy and don’t make a mess because do not feel like getting up to clean it up. When you are finished take the plate put it in the dishwasher along with the rest of the dirty dishes, close it and switch it on. And don’t forget to come back in 45 minutes to unpack it and dry the cutlery properly so they don’t get little rust marks on them.
After you have had your breakfast I don’t care what you wear, but make sure you are warm and then go away please. Do whatever it is that four year olds need to do to keep occupied – except watch TV – and don’t expect me to be a part of it, okay? Although I do love you and think you are very clever and cute I really do find most of your conversation rather unstimulating and have officially run out of fresh understanding and convincing things to say to you. Just imagine I am watching you in wordless amazement as you swing back and forth on your stomach – you clever, clever child.
Come back when its time to go to bed and you have made and eaten your supper, cleaned up the kitchen – don’t forget to pick up the food from under your chair - bathed and dressed, brushed your teeth properly, gone to the loo and read yourself a story.
Then tomorrow make sure you’re ready for playschool at 8.15 – I’ll wait for you in the car, don’t forget to pack yourself a lunchbox.