Let’s Be Pen Pals

Oh hello dear readers, and by golly it’s good to be here. I don’t know how your week has been, but boy oh boy this mothering thing has all been a bit more, how shall we say….testy than normal lately.

(insert sigh and forced grin).

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a zoo? Seriously, come to our house. Or a day care centre? Sometimes it feels like we run an institution where the little people run amok all over us all day! How can my house STILL be a complete mess every day? Haven’t I learnt any organisational skills over the past 22 years? And after this long, wouldn’t you think my children would all know how to do what they are told the FIRST time I ask them. You would think so.

You would think I have learnt something useful by now. Some words of practical wisdom to pass on to young mothers.  Like how to keep socks. Or how to organise children’s clothes. Or how to stop kiddies from yelling inside or calling each other poo poo and dumb.

But no. It appears not. 

Most days I flounder along like all of this is new to me and I haven’t a clue how to pull together the wily tentacles that make home and family function properly.

Have you ever wondered what personality type would make the ideal mother? I have. I think about this a lot.  Apart from the essential qualities, like loving, caring, affectionate, hard working, devoted etc, if you had to make a Stepford Mother (trust me, I think about this too), what type of skills would you give her? What is essential for the smooth running of a busy household? 

In my previous life when I was studying to be a school teacher, there was a third year student who lived across the hall  from me. She once asked me why I wanted to be a teacher. I actually can’t remember what I said. It was probably something about my love for children or making a difference in the world.  But I will never forget her reason for wanting to teach school children.

I love to organise. 

Hmmm, that’s odd, I thought.  Oh well, each to their own, I shrugged, as I went back to my messy sequin mosaic rainbow serpent art project that was all over the floor of my dorm room.

Now with the wisdom of nearly thirty more years of life and extensive mothering experience behind me, I get it. I totally get what she meant.  And I think the same applies to motherhood.  Being organised  must make the all difference between a home (or classroom) that is run smoothly and one, like mine, that tends to flow a little closer to the other side of the river Chaos. 

Number one on my list of essential Stepford Mother skills: Organisation.

You know it’s a gift. And while I’ll admit that organisational skills can be learned, to some extent,  I’m convinced you either have them or you don’t. They are inherent, part of our DNA, or in my case, sadly lacking. Mothers who are organised must have a better time of it than us less practical, creative  dreamers who most often feel like we are constantly chasing our tales and never getting things done properly.

I have friends who are very organised mothers, and I look at them in awe. Tidy, clutter free homes, school bags that have a home, ironed clothes, tidy kitchen benches. (You know who you are). Being organised must take so much stress out of family life. It has to make things easier, especially for large families. Oh, I’ve seen all of the charts, lists, daily goals and spreadsheets. I’ve read the blogs, listened to mothers of twelve children tell me how they keep everything ship shape and once bought a really fat book called  “The Large Family Handbook’, which I never read. But gee, I tell you what, I’m just not wired that way. I’m just not a scheduled, chore chart, list making, plan ahead, systematic type of person, and ohhhh, it is a thorn in my wobbly mothering side!

(Do I hear an AMEN from anyone??) 

I’m much more of a spontaneous, creative soul, who can way too easily ignore the washing pile to make a quilt, try a new recipe, or get crafty.  Anyone who knew me at school could say I am a bit of a flittery floaty dreamer who can neglect the less appealing reality in front of me and drift away on some fanciful thought. I well remember gazing out of my classroom window wishing I was far off in Africa making a difference in the world as a missionary. 

Not a very useful disposition when you are commander in chief of a busy household with children who need fresh underwear every day.

The struggle is real.

Anyway, for better or worse, I’m it. I’m the Mum, and while you may never ever find a matching pair of socks or be able to expect me to know where your favourite orange checkered shorts are, I will give you an apron, bowl, whisk and two eggs to start your own batch of cupcakes. I can’t guarantee the floor will be clean or you will ever see your swimmers again, but I will occasionally remember to write a special note to leave under your pillow at night. I will colour your world with passion, delight, dramatic flair, tears and excitement. I will buy flowers just because they are pretty and throw a tea party to make you feel special. I will read Tolkien to you over and over just because his words are like treasure, but forever struggle to keep track of those maths books in my messy shelves.

I may not be a highly efficient, organised Stepford Mother, (which I still think would honestly be an advantage), but somehow we’ll make it through. If I can accept myself the way I am made, with all of my weaknesses and strengths, failures and mothering victories, and my kiddies can love me because I’m the only mother they have and I love them to the moon and back and more a million times, then I think we have a chance. 

Now excuse me, I think I hear Miss Kitty calling her sister a poo poo.



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