Did I say you could drop nap time, huh, PUNK?!

The boy who loves naps has stopped napping.

He is two-and-a-half. Isn’t that a little early to be dropping his daytime sleep? Not according to a bunch of my friends, whose kids gave up snoozing as early as before their second birthday. THAT’S BESIDES THE POINT!

Jordan has always been a supreme napper! When he was born, he almost never woke up! (His record was five minutes of eyes-open time in an entire 24-hour period) He was possibly the last in my online due date group to drop from three sleeps to two, and then to one. And even when he did, it was usually three hours long! BLISS!!

But then it got a little shorter. Two hours if I was lucky. One and a half.

Now… *sobs*… he just won’t do it!! *Ugly crying* he doesn’t WANT to stay in bed and close those peepers and drift off to the land of nod. He wants to be awake and tired and crazy. Just like me T_T

Why are kids so crazy? I would do anything to have a nap everyday, let alone have the world imploring me to take one. Yet this punk toddler reckons he can do fine without one. Spurns the very opportunity! Sheer MADNESS! How does he not realize what it is he’s giving up?

Playschool is singing “close your eyes… as I sing this lullaby…” while he lies on the couch doing exactly the opposite, and I can’t help but feel like they’re mocking my pain.

Serious question: how do I survive in this new normal, without completely losing my marbles? Or is that just par for the course?

The Gym: A Mother’s Haven

I joined the gym.

Don’t worry – it’s only a trial so far; I haven’t gone an all-out commitment… yet. But I have good reason to believe I will. Well, a few good reasons. The first is because I really need to get moving, for health reasons – I have hypersomnia/narcolepsy and the less I move, the more tired I become. But there’s another big reason: the gym is an oasis, a safe haven of mental recuperation.

My gym has kid-friendly classes; I don’t plan on bringing my kids, ever. This is my Me-Time, my chance to think about sweet nothing save the burn in my thighs as I chuck another hack-squat. It’s wholesome on every level: physically, of course, but also emotionally and spiritually, it gives a massive boost just to know that I’m doing something good for myself. It’s even better than cake. (Maybe… OK, it depends on the cake – but it’s pretty damn close)

They say that, as a parent, you need to fill your own cup before you fill those of the little charges. Some take that to mean filling their wine glass, but wine doesn’t agree with me, so this is my outlet. So far it’s been one day, with two classes, but I’m already on the biggest high. My favourite part? Skipping out after dinner to go do Pilates while husband got the kids ready for bed – just like I have to do when he waves goodbye and heads to a music gig (he plays keys) or takes off to watch the footy.

Tomorrow, my muscles will burn, but there’s no way that’ll stop me going back on Friday to do it all again. I’ve found my little Zen space, and while I’m there, I’ll be improving my health, getting stronger, and dealing with this pesky mum-tum that insists on hanging around. There’s just so much win!

Every mum needs her outlet, her own sacred me-time. What does yours look like, or how would you like it to look, if you don’t currently get it?

Why parenting is so damn hard (and friends are vital)

The thing that makes children so very frustrating is that you’re constantly at loggerheads: you need them to do a certain thing or act a particular way, and they just don’t give a flying fuck! Parents are forever devising new and improved ways of compelling the little creatures to do their bidding – from putting socks on, eating the sandwich you made for them, and being polite to Grandma, to brushing their teeth (without having to pin them down and prise their jaws open), wearing a seatbelt, and going to sleep when it is ACTUALLY BEDTIME. You can’t control a child, because they are human beings – fully capable of doing exactly as they please, with none of the restraint or sensibility we tend to exert as adults.

It is this constant struggle that makes parenting immensely wearying. I feel bad about it, the relief I feel when they finally conk out for the night, or when they toddler off to daycare or kinder. I feel like I ought to enjoy them more when they’re around – it’s not like I don’t love them with every fibre of my being, and indeed, I do enjoy them – at times. Snuggles are the best. Those cute moments where they hold up their very artwork are divine. I love watching my gal put on a dancing or gymnastics performance; my little man woos me with his delightful role play and baby-care. But… those are just moments dotted throughout the day, interspersed with things like whining, incessant demands and sibling rivalry.

Bringing up kids is crazy hard. I’ve learned that over the last five years. It’s the kind of thing that gets whispered amongst close friends as we huddle protectively over semi-warm cups of coffee and keep half an eye on our gaggle of kids to make sure no one gets too seriously injured – but it’s not widely advertised. Certainly, it’s not until the kid is at least born that we let new parents in on the big scoop: parenting frequently sucks! It’s miserable! It’s thankless and gruelling! It’s pretty damn lucky for kids that they’re also adorable, because if not for that, the human race would not have got this far. But we try to present a good face to the world, toning down the soul-destroying tumult of life-sucking emotions that flood our beings on the daily, reducing it to cute memes about needing more coffee/wine/a vacation, or spinning those horrifying moments of “what the crap did my child just do?!” into funny status updates.

The older generations tend not to be much help, as far as empathy goes. “We’ve all been through it,” they say dismissively. “Back in MY day, we didn’t have XYZ to help.” No, it becomes increasingly important as you step into the thick of the parenting gig to source out fellow parents with similarly-aged children who can commiserate properly, who can reassure you with their own stories of how they lose their temper and yell at their kids, or lock themselves in the bathroom sometimes to eat a Snickers in peace, or secretly just aren’t enjoying this stage of life too terribly much. These experiences are validating and encouraging. You’re not just over-reacting, your feelings are real and legitimate. This journey is universally difficult.

Words cannot express how grateful I am to have my little gaggle of mum friends, who will happily chill together and be totally real with each other. Having others to help shoulder the burden makes all the difference. Having people to laugh and cry and feel feelings with, all while our children run amok all around us, is joy. I hope that every parent has such a group – or even just a bestie – to do this parenting thing with; I can’t imagine how much harder it would be without that moral support.