You see the pictures on my instagram – a busy, happy and healthy brood of boys. What those pictures don’t tell you, amongst other things like the dirty laundry piled just out of shot, is that one of those beautiful boys believes he’s “not good enough”! Everyday he battles with with painfully low self-esteem, emotions he’s not equipped to control, anger that rages out of frustration to communicate effectively, and ostracisation.
But I’m not going to write about H’s anger issues as there’s no diagnosis, no cure and, at times, everyone around him is floundering for answers to help this little boy. Instead, I want to share a little of my frustration and anger – as unlike H, I’m able to highlight the exact things that make me seeth (poor Mr Only Girl!!).
Suffering from rock-bottom self-esteem has always left H looking externally for approval, none more so than that of his peers. In a bid to make/keep friends he always asked for the biggest, bestest birthday party, inviting as many people as he could remember. The planning would start 6 months in advance: the venue, the theme, the cake, the invitations – he’d make list after list of his ideal day, only comparable to a bride-zilla high on smell of luxury, letter-pressed stationary. I was always happy to go along with it, as it was something he enjoyed planning and, as a mother to a child continually alienating himself from friends due to volatility, I just wanted him to feel part of something special.
My love affair with Habitat started very young – I would follow my mum into Brighton and gawp, stroke and inhale the chunky, red velvet sofa that greeted us in their ultra hip, industrial shop space in the otherwise dilapidated, concrete structure of a shopping precinct; I must have been all of about 5! Move on 10 years, and with a blatant disregard for employment law, I applied for their Saturday sales assistant job at the tender age of 15 – yes, I got the job but, needless to say, all fell apart when they requested my national insurance number which wouldn’t arrive in the post for another 7 months! So, when my first interiors love got in touch – like a long lost beau, to ask if I wanted a slice for their bedroom furniture cake -how could I refuse?!
Thank god for that- school’s out for Easter! At this point, most mums I know would be staring at me with puzzled looks at my jubilant sigh of relief that the holidays have arrived. Two whole weeks with my rabble is far from a mother-earth, bond with your kids kinda experience – more of a “I need a G&T!” by 10am kinda saga, as I become an on-demand dinner lady for a fortnight. So, my joy at no more school is not that I get some quality time with my munchkins (well, just a tad!) but the fact I no longer have to be super-mum for the school’s pleasure – no more fancy-dress days, Easter bonnet competitions, sponsorship forms, cake sales………
Anyone under the impression that by the time your little humans head off to school that your life will become easier has clearly never encountered a school newsletter, PTA email or school office text reminder. Once the two eldest boys started at our quaint, village primary school, I was all prepared for days filled with work, evenings preparing dinner and chatting about our days activities then skipping off to bed at a reasonable hour. Oh how wrong could one mama be?!
I’ll admit, I feel slightly bad that since birth our littlest man has not had the luxury of his own nursery. To start with, as a newborn, it was a must to have him as close as humanly possible in his co-sleeping cot. The chunky-monkey outgrew his co-sleeper at a rapid rate though and moved into his cot-bed but didn’t make the transition to his own domain, instead just to the end of our bed!
All is not lost though: with the realisation of our extension (see more on that here) towards the later part of this year the little man will be able to pleasantly enjoy his very own nursery. Whilst the last 11 months has been fun (as will the next 6 whilst the extension is being built and we have no option than to have him in with us) what were once little snuffles have turned into full blown murmurs and the size of Casper’s belongings are getting bigger! Plus, what a better excuse than to go on the hunt for the fabulousness that will be his first, and my last *sad face*, nursery.
This will be the third nursery I’ve decorated, as I constantly point out like a mama on repeat, back in 2006 with the first two bubbas’, the internet wasn’t as super-duper as it is today. I was lucky if I could find a single grey baby accessory at all, and chances were, if I did it would have a yellow or blue elephant/giraffe emblazoned on it! So, this time – I’m going to town!
I’m going to run the risk of upsetting a few of my pre-kid friends with this, but hey, they have an abundance of kid-free time to get over it and being my friends, they hopefully know it’s sentiment is well meant. Well, kinda! I became a mum at 21, relatively young in this whole mum game – certainly as most of my friends were still globe-trotting or interning at various media hotbeds at the time. But no, not me – I was married, mortgaged and up-the-duff before 22 hit. I think because of this I had relatively little time to contemplate motherhood , what it would be like, what my child might look like, my birth et al. Fast forward 10 years, and my well-travelled friends have nabbed themselves their “keepers” and are now planning their brood – the difference being, they’ve had plenty of time to consider their dream life once they’ve done the deed. But as a well-worn, old cynic in this motherhood thang, I’m here to shatter a few illusions and have a little whinge – sorry, not sorry!