The (ever expanding) CV of a Mother

As I embark upon the soul-shattering mission to return to work after a baby I am reminded of the difficulties of doing so on an Island where the vast majority of vacancies probably receive 100’s of applications. With merely a handful of GCSE’s to my name and an ample amount of work experience and life experience it has hard to snag more than a ‘thank you for your application, unfortunately….’ let alone even an acknowledgement of my interest and effort or even an interview. Let’s face it gaining employment is hard especially when there is not as much appreciation for the endless tasks that motherhood throws at you that happen to demonstrate your ability to pretty much cope with anything.

Breastfeeding; whilst something that I am no longer doing and certainly do not wish to do ever as means of securing a job this particular hurdle that I conquered for a whooping 6 months shows a huge amount of dedication. Breastfeeding a child is a difficult job, it requires determination, perseverance and a lot of independent working because actually no one can take that night shift for you. It requires a great deal of sobriety, care, comfort and love to do this 5 million times a day. It takes confidence to do this in public, it means being creative with a wardrobe that is lacking after you are likely to have expanded making most of your clothes redundant.

Attention to detail: a mother literally has to have eyes everywhere, you cannot barely blink without a toddler trying to do some death defying stunt. Nothing can be left, no tea or coffee, there is a place for everything and everything in its place. There is little spontaneity when you have a climber, the sudden urge to pee can often leave you vulnerable to finding your child dancing on the table.

Organisation: if I have to do anything I have to be quick and precise, I need to have a plan. I need to arrange nap time so that I can clean away everyone else’s stuff because they lack that ‘attention to detail’. I must ensure that nap is at the right time and lasts for the right amount of time as not to have a very unhappy toddler even more prone to damaging himself because he has become ‘dangerously tired’.

Multitasking: I have the ability to cook three different meals and serve them all at the same time without burning anything to make sure that everyone eats. I can then eat mine whilst feeding the toddler and catching the food that he has refused to try before it touches the floor.

Management: I can command a room, sometimes with just a stern yet gentle look, I can get an eight year old to tidy her bedroom (to a somewhat questionable/acceptable state), I can get that homework done using my abilities as a negotiator.

Time keeping: I have a tidy home, I plan my washing around the ever changing British weather and we all have clean pants. I can make sure that the milk man’s delivery comes at just the time the last smidgen of milk is used. I make sure this house is clean despite the toddler, the eight year old who likes to make sure that there is at least three cuddly cat toys of hers in each room, a partner who refuses to throw even his own contact lens wrappers in the bin himself, a rather large brown hound and a fat (forever shedding) ginger cat lives here. I sweep the floors about three times a day.

Strength: I functioned for nearly a whole year on about 4 hours worth of broken sleep a night whilst juggling everything else, how you may ask me? Literally couldn’t tell you for a million quid. It happened, I, and everyone else is still alive. Miracle.

Working with people: I have been able to sustain the very lives that have made mine harder, through love, care, comfort and nourishment. I am the one that feeds imagination, gives hope to the daughter that is bullied, encourages dreams and vanquishes nightmares and monsters. I play, I laugh, I jump and dance even when I don’t want to get my children to be happy. I am committed and loyal.

A mother is more than just someone that is able to stay at home and look after an infant, that infant is continually changing and as a mother you have to adapt to survive. There is a list as long as my arm of all the things that I would bring to a work a place that would be happy to give me the opportunity.

 

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Happiness and Parenting.

Happiness is just one of the many emotions that we have within our very complex spectrum and the importance of gaining, preserving and knowing when we can expect the next dollop of happiness keeps us running towards this fleeting feeling.

As adults we should really be wiser to the allures of happiness and the unquenchable thirst that we have for it but with every passing fashion that comes and goes we are continually fooled into thinking that the next thing will make us happy and keep us happy.

In reference to how we like our happiness, it needs to quick to obtain and lasting in its effects but essentially that is not always its route and biologically there are those who are just more likely to be happier than you. So we all understand consumerism and that the we are all programmed to want, whether that’s something relatively easy to obtain like the new t-shirt that you have seen in your favorite shop or things that are likely to take longer and require a lot of commitment such as the owning of a home and we all have this feeling that whatever that it is we are striving will make us happy. This is something that we cannot in a capitalist, consumer driven society we cannot avoid.

But let’s get to parenting and consider that impact that our parenting techniques have upon the adults that our children grow into (obviously without piling all the blame upon us). When someone asks what I want for the future of my children (like many other parents) my answer is a simple and (believed to be) humble ‘I would like them to be happy’ because I strive to have happy children. I am always trying to keep them happy, I settled them as babies when they cried, I placate them with distractions when they are grumpy, I recharge them with helping them nap when they are tired, and the list could go on! Take for an example when your toddler wants a toy that someone else has you try two things, first you may try to give them a different toy and attempt to keep them happy with that toy until the occupied one becomes available (normally they have forgotten about their want) or you try to convince the other child to share the toy and encourage them to play together. Now whilst I do not have an alternative suggestion we complete this task until there is no longer a need to do so. We follow around our children trying to given them instant gratification every time they experience something that is an emotion like unhappiness. How does this translate into our adult years? How does the initial upbringing of children and the foundations we have set for them affect them in later life when we are not their to try and convince the person who got the promotion above your son or daughter to share it, because that is only fair.

I do not know how we would go about changing this instinctive feeling we have towards our rights to be happy because we don’t want to accept the inevitability that we will indeed spend much of our lives experience all other emotions more frequently than that of happiness. It doesn’t mean that when we are not happy we are unhappy, there are a whole host of other feelings and not all are negative but it really is happiness that we are all chasing, and fuck it is exhausting. So one person to another how can we help our children accept the reality that what we want for them can be tiresome, hard, fleeting and ultimately something they cannot harness for as long as they will want it?

I just don’t get it.

I guess I don’t get it, there is more I don’t know than that of which I do, I’m not going to pretend I understand, nor that I have any answers. We face an election that has come during a time where world events are rather scary, and with this in mind that many people look to the strong who say they are not scared of the fight, or those ready and willing to take the lives of others. There are no winners in nuclear wars, so why is there such a fixation on them? People talk about the environment (and rightly so) they fear for the extinction of animals, for the devastation of the rain forests, the melting of the polar ice caps, but if we embark upon a nuclear war then these ice caps won’t even have the time to fucking melt. If we allow those we don’t know to have their identities scrutinised over their religion and the actions of few we encourage the segregation that they are already facing.  When we take from our children we make their futures unpredictable, their education unstable, their national health service questionable. When we argue over what unskilled workforces should have we underestimate what they need, what they could be, what they want to be. I have said that I do not have the answers, I don’t even know what questions to ask but here are a few circling my mind.

Why would you risk the continuation of the NHS?

Why would you make unnecessary changes to the education system only to benefit the elite?

Why cannot we give more to those who don’t have?

I don’t know the cost of securing the future of the next generations, I don’t know what the costs would be to raise the living wage, I don’t know what the cost would be to save the NHS, but I do know that these things are important to so many and maybe it might be worth finding out. I’m not about concentrating on what I have, my concern is for those that don’t have or won’t have.

When you take from people who have less so you can have more that’s an issue.

When your concern is how much is being given to those that have less that’s an issue.

If your biggest fear in this election is what you get when there are:

Homeless people living on the streets.

Refugees fleeing from bombs.

Children living in poverty

If we changed the mindset from ‘it’s their own fault’ to ‘what can I do to help?’ What do you think would happen? The welfare system is always being challenged by those who feel they don’t need it.

The way I see it is it’s not what the politicians can do for me it is what they can do for people who need them more.

These may not be your wants but they are the sentiments of the party you support.

London. 

My words cannot do my sadness for today’s event justice, but I am reminded of a conversation I have had with my mother and I think that this needs sharing. 

When I was struggling with the concept of terrorism and the fear, hurt and anger it brings my mother told me that she makes her own stand against the hate this spreads and that was not to allow it to consume her. My mother will not allow her life to be riddled with the fear and hate that these few people want to spread and that in itself is a stand against what these few want. 

I think this is an important lesson, hate never changes hate. We cannot allow the persecution of a religion or race as an attempt to cure hatred. We cannot judge groups on the acts of minority’s. We cannot allow ourselves to spread racism because of our hurt. 

I have seen some hideously angry posts which I fear will only to provoke other acts of anger.

I do not sympathise with those who act in such violent ways but I imagine those who commit these crimes are full of hate and I do not want to encourage this feeling. We are living during a time where we can take to social media to share thoughts and opinions with everyone else in the world and with this comes extreme responsibility, please do not take to your keyboard to spread thoughts of hate but simply thoughts of condolence. 

I extend my thoughts to not only those involved and their family but those who will be spending their evening turning their sadness into acts of provocation. 

Stay safe and stay kind.