As a photographer I see my life through a certain lens – the pretty lens. When I walk into a new space I am scanning for the best light, for an interesting angle. As a mother I see my life through another lens – the one committed to documenting delight. I scan our days for delightful things, I try and look at the postives of my children, of our day, to keep me in a headspace of gratitude for this time with my children.
Now, when you compile all that together you get a blog of happy photos and lots of words written from my heart. And as a whole – this is how I see our life. I am a romantic, an optimist. And the plain truth is – you find what you look for. When I look back on our months I am happy and contented, my life does feel delightful to me.
But sometimes, like today, when I look back on the day – I want to cry. I have undelightful days, oh, I do.
And I don’t really blog about them because that’s not what this blog is about, right?
Plus, who wants to write about embarrassing or upsetting things that happened to them? They’re embarrassing for a reason.
I’d like to share this story with you because as much as I want to show how delightful life can be – I am all about keeping it real folks! If you’re ever caught thinking “Oh that Georgia and her delightful life – what a facade!” – refer to this post. Blogs often represent the author as one dimensional but let me assure you – sh*t is getting real over here too. I can be the mama who finds parenting delightful and the one who finds it immensely challenging too.
This story is written especially for you mamas so papas, I warn you now … this is a story with womanly woes within so if that will bother you – please stop now! There is too much information ahead. You are warned.
Okay, so, here is a recount of my day so far:
Errol has some errands to run today and I have some friends to meet up with. I suggested he drop me at the park to meet my friends while he completes the errands. Errol needs to go borrow his parents ute, drive to my sisters house to collect some things and then back to our house to drop it off, then back to his parents to return the ute and then pick me up. I estimate this will take him 3 hours. The park he drops me off at is near a shopping centre so I can walk over after my friends have left the park if he isn’t back yet. Easy (rookie mistake!).
We are in a hurry to leave the house in the morning as Errol and I confuse the times we each thought we were leaving so I go without my normal bag of change of clothes and snacks for kids. It’s okay I think, I have my wallet – the shops across the road and the kids just had a huge breakfast. Cue to arriving at the park where Theo starts moaning that he’s ‘hungee’. I explain I haven’t brought food but after we play with our friends we’ll walk over to a store to buy something for lunch. Soon enough all my friend’s children are eating their snacks and my children are floating around like unfed orphans moaning “I hungeeeeeee”.
My friends are relaxed and happily give my children some snacks and I don’t feel too bad about being an unprepared mother. We stay at the park till midday which in Australia at this time of year is… hot. Our friends and children leave and I tell the kids we’ll walk to the shopping centre now – where it is air-conditioned to eat and wait for papa. I call Errol. He does not answer.
The kids are tired, ready for an afternoon nap and covered in brown dust from the park. They don’t want to walk to the shops. It’s probably only 100m but in the midday sun and after all the playing they don’t want to walk anywhere. I can no longer pick them up one in each arm and I am without handbag, ergo or stroller. I spy a trolley abandoned in the park and tell them they can ride in that back to the shops. At this point I am feeling all class. I’ve got blood on my dress from where Theo cut his knee, my feet are all dusty from the bark at the playground and I have two tired hot and grubby children using a trolley to be transported from the park. Yep, I am having visions of myself as a homeless person pushing my trolley through the park with my poor homeless children crying in it.
And guess what? Pushing a trolley through grass and over rocks is really, really hard. And people stare.
We get to the store after a much more difficult journey than I expected and I find that I have left my card at home. I only have $12.50 in cash. This is okay – I can buy something for lunch with that and Errol will be here shortly to collect us. We buy something to eat and I sit down. I call Errol again. No answer.
It’s right at this point that I suddenly think “uh oh… is… that… my period?” How can my period be coming? It’s five days early and Errol and I are going away for our five year anniversary tomorrow! We have never been away without our kids! We never even had a honeymoon! And lets face it – we’d really like to get to have wild sex and I cannot be getting my period right now! I check my iPeriod app. This cannot be happening.
But oh, it is.
And I’ve just spent my last cash and I have no handbag with me. What to do?! Right at this moment Theo starts screaming that he needs to be picked up. That he’s hungeeeeeeee. He interprets me saying “Theo, mama has to go to the bathroom, I need you to walk with me” to be “I am not picking you up” so he throws himself promptly on the floor. Screaming. People are looking. I don’t want to bend down to pick him up because I am concerned about my embarrassing situation and so I just stand there and will him with all my strength to please stand up and walk over to me. Please for all that is good and holy Theo – please oh please do this for me just this once son.
No – he screams more. His little face all red and grubby and my face growing redder to match. Please I beg him, come here and hop in the trolley. More people are looking. I bend as carefully as I can and pick him up. After an ordeal we make it to the bathroom where I find that as far as unexpected periods go the situation is dire. I need to get home and quick. I need a new dress. Quick.
Now, imagine yourself here, squished in a bathroom stall with two tired children and a husband who seems to have forgotten how to answer the phone, no cash and no way to get home. What do you do? You cry. This will help the situation by scaring the children and making you look more of a mess than you already are.
I assess the situation as not being able to be worse than it is but I have no choice but to keep going. As much as I want to, I cannot evaporate into the bathroom floor. Peach has been a trooper this whole time so chooses now to say as loudly as she can “Mama, are you crying because you have blood in your undies?”. I hear a stifled laugh from somewhere else in the bathroom. Awesome. This day is going AWESOME.
There is nothing else to it. I text Errol in desperation as I leave the cubicle and try and hide behind my children until we can find a wall I can stand innocuously against while I try to regain an ounce of composure. He texts me back saying he’ll be an hour. AN HOUR? It’s been four and a bit hours since he dropped me off already. I cannot possibly keep going for an hour! AN HOUR? Theo is wailing again. I hungeee. I hungeeeeee. I have no more money. I have no more food. I have nothing.
This is one of those times where life with children is infinitely more trying than I ever expected it to be, in that same way that they give me more joy and more delight than I thought possible. They can sap more energy and more… everything than I thought I had . Oh, having a super crappy day? Add two tired children to the mix and you’ll be stretched to your limits of sanity. “Hey mama, I can see you’re stressed out and it’s stressing me out. I am going to scream and wet my pants!”. Parenting ain’t for the faint hearted people. I feel myself stretching, you’re learning something I tell myself. You’re growing. But it’s at those times when you are stretching and strengthening that you do not want to learn anything more. I just want this to all stop. I cannot take anymore!
I just stand there and beg the floor to open up and swallow me. This day cannot get worse.
But oh, it can.
It’s right at this moment I push the trolley (trying to get to the small indoor playground so at least the children can play while I die quietly inside) over a small bump in the ground and my iPhone falls from the child seat it was resting in to the floor to smash into a thousand pieces, along with the last shred of my dignity. Awesome. That would be the same screen I just paid to have replaced for $179. Awesomesauce.
Errol arrives and we travel home in silence. He smiles at me in that way husbands do when wives say they’ve had a terrible day with the children. This smile is mixed with the other awkward smile he saves for when I talk about my period. Women shouldn’t talk about their periods publicly you know? Oh and - they definitely shouldn’t blog about it!
And then… and then I come home. I’ve calmed down. The children are asleep. I take a long shower. I hop online. And then I’ve nearly finished recounting the woes for this blog post as some sort of catharsis when my website crashes and I lose the last hours worth of writing… Oh why oh why!
So I hop on facebook and post something funny Theo said to cheer myself up and someone on the Documenting Delight facebook page comments to let me know she saw me and the kids out today. At the shops. Yes, this day is complete as my finest one yet!
And why did I just share this all with you? Because the only way I can make this day more embarrassing is to share it with thousands of other people! Ha. Just joking. Actually – that’s true. But the real reason is the next time you’re having one of those days. Those days with your kids when you’re pretty sure it can’t get any worse and that no one else is finding life more than you think you can handle you can remember me and think “well, at least it’s not as bad as that!”. Or maybe it is and then I am raising this glass of wine to you ;)