emptyingthevault

For when you need to get get stuff out of your head.

Hi, My Name Is Lumponacouch, AKA Lumpinthebed: A Whingey Rant.

Hmmmm. Both of those names have a nice ring to them. What to choose, what to choose? I’ll go with “Lump” for short.

Yes, it’s tempting to have my name officially changed to Lumponacouch or Lumpinthebed, because they are very accurate descriptions of myself at the moment.  There have been many times throughout the last 35 weeks that I’ve felt down, unmotivated and just generally crap. This past week, though, has felt the worst.  Maybe it’s a combination of lack of sleep, erratic sleep patterns when I do get sleep, or knowing that there’s only 5 weeks until bubs gets here (maybe less, if she’s early) and being impatient for that, but whatever it is has left me feeling absolutely useless and wondering if I’ll ever feel useful again.

I watch M work his butt off around our house, doing intense physical labour to fix and prepare for bubs’ arrival (eg having to cut out a path from the cars to the house as we only have stairs – not good for wheeling a pram up or down), often after putting in a solid day at work, and all I can lay claim to do is a few dishes – if I can be bothered.  If you need someone expert in lying in bed all day, though, I’m your gal!

I can’t wait until bubs is born – then I’ll get to say things like “you don’t think being a stay-at-home-mum is work?! You bastard!” I kid, I wouldn’t say that, and M wouldn’t give me a reason to, but the point is that I’ll have something to do! I’ll be useful again, and have a reason to get out of bed (probably many times).

Wanted: One Passion/Career. Apply Within.

Sometimes I get this weird feeling, like I know what I’m supposed to do with my life but I’m struggling to remember what it is. It’s on the tip of my tongue…nope, lost it. Wait, I remember, it’s…nope, gone again. The older I get, the more it frustrates me. Do I have a passion? Could this passion turn into a career, or am I destined to just get the same sort of receptionist jobs I’ve done for the past 12 years.

Of course, I’ve got a full-time job coming up – motherhood – but unfortunately, that doesn’t pay the bills! Rather, it creates more, from what I’m told. And this requires me to go back to work sooner than I’d like, as I didn’t get the chance to stay employed in one place long enough to qualify for maternity leave or even save a little cash to help us get by. So, when I’m ready to drag myself away from my child and leave her in the hands of strangers at a child care centre, I’ll be looking for yet another “job”. Although, if previous salaries I’ve earned are to go by, I’ll be earning just enough to pay for her to go to child care, in which case it seems stupid to pay someone else to raise my child when I could have her at home for free.

This can’t be it for my life, can it? Has my purpose been to waste my 20′s, find the right guy in my 30′s, have a child with said guy and then take whatever jobs come my way? I always thought I was destined for something, something to make a name for myself, or at least something that I could be happy and comfortably supporting my family with.  Of course, I wasted my 20′s thinking that grown-up stuff like family and career were something that future me would deal with. Past me was an idiot.

But I’m ready to be an adult, now! I don’t want to waste more time, I want to help my partner support us and our child (not long to go now). My priorities have changed – I’m even looking into studying for positions that I might not necessarily like, that definitely aren’t anything I’m passionate about, but want to do because they offer stability and growth. It’s not just about me and my happiness, anymore.  I will quite happily attempt to fit in online study around raising a newborn baby.  Unfortunately, the study and career gods seem displeased with me and are making it rather difficult. If it’s something I really want to do, I can’t afford it and our FEE-HELP scheme (like student loans) doesn’t apply. If it’s something I don’t love but know it will be beneficial, the FEE-HELP scheme applies but I can’t do it unless I’m already working in that particular industry.  Tell me, how do you get experience in a particular industry if nobody will hire you because you don’t have experience, and you can’t even study unless you’re in that industry – which, of course you aren’t, because you don’t have experience!

Ugh. What is it I’m supposed to do? If only I could remember…

Why can’t we all just get along?

I’ve got six weeks to go until my bundle of joy makes her way into the world, and in the interest in getting as much information, advice, and support as possible I’ve joined/browsed a few baby forums and read reviews on the books of “experts.”

One thing seems to be abundantly clear on these forums, and that’s the dynamic of “us versus them.” Are you an attachment parent, are you detached, are you a helicopter parent, are you breastfeeding or formula feeding, or are you just letting your child run naked through fields – what sort of parent are you? And you’d better choose the right answer, lest you get flamed and shamed into believing you’re a bad mummy because you don’t think the methods used by another parent are right for you and your baby.

There are many heated debates over what parenting style is best, and a lot of them are based around the words of people who may not have psychological/medical training regarding children and could be seen as purely anecdotal, but some parents out there swear by the techniques used – even ones that could be potentially dangerous. But hey, it works, right? Hmmmm.  Yeah, I’m not on board with doing anything that isn’t recommended by actual baby health professionals, but that’s my choice. And while I agree that there are techniques out there that work for some parents and their baby, it doesn’t mean they work for everybody – but according to some, “you’re just not doing it right.” Well, how about realising that not every baby is the same, therefore won’t respond to the same things another baby might? It’s not necessarily the fault of the mother if things like controlled crying don’t work, but yet so many of these forums would have you believe that it is.

Shouldn’t instinct come into play? How many archaeologists have dug up ancient texts on how to get your cave baby to sleep? Women have been having babies for thousands of years, and we’ve never, since the beginning of time, been given a manual that has all the right answers. So how can anybody call themselves an expert, and how can some mothers put all their faith in someone who does and feel that they are now entitled to bully other mothers into thinking the same way, or else their child will be forever damaged? Look, I haven’t done this parenting thing before, but I’ll give it my best shot, and if I get to a point where what I’m doing doesn’t seem to be working then I’ll seek reputable advice. I’m not too proud to ask for help, especially with the most important thing I’ll do in my life.

You know, seeing as how raising a child is the hardest, most important thing a woman will do, shouldn’t there be a bit more of a sisterhood around? How is it helpful to a new mum who goes onto a baby forum seeking advice, only to possibly leave feeling worse about the situation because she apparently doesn’t fit under any of the labels mentioned above?  I’m baffled that we need multiple labels at all – I would have thought “Parent” was the only one needed. After all, we all want to make sure our child is fed, clothed, well rested, sociable, educated, respected, well-treated…I could go on, I’m sure. Surely all of those things sit nicely under the label of “Parent.”

So, can we please dispense with the bullying, the flaming, the shaming? Can we increase the support, love and care? And can we all just get along?

 

To My Daughter…

You’ll be making your appearance into the world and our lives in about 7 weeks.  That’s pretty scary – it’s so much easier to take care of you while you’re in my belly!

You were a surprise, but a very wanted surprise. Your daddy and I always wanted you, and I guess you were in a hurry to get to us. We’ve always known you were “meant to be”. I’ll explain that to you when you’re older.

Being pregnant with you has been pretty easy and wonderful. The best part is feeling you move and trying to figure out which part of you is pushing through my belly. You’ve got a strong kick, or a strong elbow, that’s for sure. Oh, and the selfish part of me kinda loves the attention that gets bestowed upon a pregnant woman.

I’ve prepared myself for sleepless nights, difficulty trying to get you to feed, explosive poo, and being freaked out at the slightest sniffle or cough, but I tend to think too far into the future and the thing that freaks me out most of all is wondering who you’ll be as a teenager. Those are the crazy years – trust me, I know what it’s like.  I hope you’ll allow me to guide you away from repeating the same mistakes I made. Sometimes you need to make a mistake in order to really know yourself and your capabilities; sometimes a mistake doesn’t need to be made to know that the outcome will be bad. I hope that you’ll listen to me on both counts. I’d love it if you took my advice on the following…

LOANS AND DEBT: When you get a job and start earning money it’s exciting. You can buy the things you like and it makes you feel independent. Some of the things you like, though, cost more than what you earn, and this is where you can fall into trouble.  NEVER GET A LOAN.  You end up paying more than the cost of the item (say, a car), and I cannot tell you enough how much stress you bring into your life trying to make repayments on a loan, especially if you fall into the position of no longer having the income that qualified you for the loan in the first place – how can you pay a loan back with no money? The best thing you can do for yourself is to live within your financial means, save your money for the thing you really want, and owe nobody. Pay your bills on time, prioritise your money.  I’ve spent most of my adult life in debt and it is a constant source of stress that I don’t want to see you go through.

RELATIONSHIPS: You’ll probably have an interest in boys (or girls, if you prefer, but in this example we’ll go with boys) early on, but your dad and I will be encouraging you to focus on school first. I had my first boyfriend when I was 17, towards the end of high school, and that was a good time for it. Regardless of your age, love is a tricky thing, and mistakes will be made. This is one of those situations where sometimes you have to make mistakes yourself in order to know yourself. However, I want you to remember that you should always be treated with respect, kindness and love.  Pay attention to actions, not just words – if a man tells you he loves you but then displays behaviour that you don’t think a loving person should do, chances are he’s not the one for you. Never, EVER, allow a man to hit you or verbally abuse you – there is no reason in the world for that to be necessary, and if you’re ever in that situation you need to get out of it, immediately.  You’ll find the guy for you when the time is right. You just may have to deal with a few less than perfect guys first. Believe me, I know.

BULLYING: This topic is rather prevalent in society now, especially with the invention of social media (I wonder what it will be like when you’re old enough to use it).  Bullying is the act by a person (or people) to make you feel bad about yourself, whether it’s by physical attack or verbal abuse. Social media has seen the spread of online bullying – it’s easy to do because you can be anonymous. It’s a very cowardly act.  If you get bullied at school or online, I want you to remember that the people who do this are doing it because they may feel insecure about their lives and want to take it out on others, or they’re just assholes.  You need to remember that you are loved and that these people do not define you. They’ll be gone from your life soon enough. I wish I could say that it goes away once you’re an adult, but unfortunately it doesn’t. You need to develop the skills to ignore it, if it happens to you.

WORK: Getting a job is important.  I hope you can find something that you’re passionate about and can make a career out of (yes, there’s kind of a difference between a job and a career). You could be led to it by studying, or it could just fall into your lap. I haven’t found my passion, yet. I hope I do soon, but everyone’s journey is different. My work ethic has been a bit shaky in the past, but now my priorities have changed and all I want is a position to be able to help support our family. It’s not just about me, anymore.  If I could do some things over again, education and career is what I would focus on. I didn’t want to go to university because the idea of more years of study was not appealing when I was 17, but guess what? The years will pass, regardless, so do something with them.  I’d be in a much better position if I’d realised that back then.  Don’t be like me. Don’t be put off by time and effort – both are required to get anywhere in life.

Well, I think that’s all the wisdom I can dispense right now. Of course, you won’t read this for a long time, if at all, but hopefully I can look back on it as a guide to the sort of parent I want to be.

Xoxo.

I’m an idiot

Yep, I’m an idiot. Why? Well, we’re having Christmas at our house tomorrow.  See, I declined my mother’s offer of our usual Christmas lunch by the beach because I’m rather pregnant, it’s always crowded (don’t like crowds, but especially not while preggers), and there’s always a long walk (well, more of a painful waddle, now) from where we eventually find a carpark. I suggested that it would be so much nicer if both families join us at our house.  I thought to myself “you clever woman, now you don’t have to go anywhere! Make them come to YOU!” So, they are…and in my hurry to pat myself on the back for getting out of going out, I seem to have forgotten that it’s a lot more work to have family over for lunch. Guess who gets to clean in preparation, organise enough seating and prepare the food? Me! M is on nightshift at the moment, and doesn’t finish until Christmas morning, so his days are spent sleeping, otherwise he’d be able to help.  So, I’m taking a break (cleaning while pregnant is EXHAUSTING!) for a bit of a whinge. 

Tomorrow’s guest list is: my mum, my stepdad (N2), my pregnant sister (N), her fiancee (S), my 5-year-old nephew (H), my stepsister (M2), M’s dad (G) and M’s aunt/stepmother (V).  I’m nervous about this guest list, actually.  My mum, stepdad and M’s dad and aunt have met once before – mum and G got along brilliantly, while stepdad and aunt sat back and didn’t contribute to the conversation.  So, that will be awkward if the two of them don’t say anything. My sister has never met them before and has only met M once but she has always been incredibly impolite when I’ve introduced her to people – she’s actually grunted as a form of greeting before! I don’t really know my future brother-in-law very well, but from what I’ve seen he’s not much of a talker, either. I don’t know my stepsister well but I know she’s capable of conversation, so that’s good! M’s dad will most likely repeat stories he’s already told and make numerous mentions to his late wife (M’s mother, who passed away over 10 years ago), which always manages to bring the mood down a tad. Also, I’ll be spending all day trying to protect my baby belly from being touched by M’s Aunt V, who has never actually asked permission to touch it and manages to do it with ninja-like swiftness that I don’t even know she’s done it until after.  Once, after an unsolicited touch, on the way to meeting her another time,  I said to M “I’ll just put my hands over my belly or cover it with my handbag, that should show that it’s a no-go zone.” It worked, until she shocked me by hugging me for the first time ever and shot out her hand as we parted, finding her target. Ugh. I’ll never understand why people think it’s ok to grab a pregnant belly, especially without asking. If I saw her on a regular basis I’d definitely put a stop to it, but with only a few weeks left and probably not seeing G and V often until bubs is born I may have to pick my battles – and a family lunch is not the best place to do it.

To cut a long story short, I anticipate many, many awkward moments of silence and I expect to be pissed off at some point. Probably by V.

Wow, my words are boring the shit outta me. I think it’s time for a more exciting topic or back to cleaning.  I promise my posts won’t always be this dull and whingey.

Pregnancy, People and Pandering

If I don’t get this out of my head, I’ll be dwelling on it all night…

I’m 33 weeks pregnant with my first child and things are progressing wonderfully – aside from a few aches and pains and some insomnia, I really can’t complain. Well, not about the pregnancy itself.

Since moving in with my partner, M, and subsequent pregnancy, I’ve found myself feeling increasingly isolated from certain friends, despite being only a 20 minute drive away. At first, it felt like my single, non-pregnant, no-children girlfriends who I’d previously spent Friday and Saturday nights drinking at the pub with had decided that now I was in a relationship I wouldn’t have time for them. Well, false! Sure, a new relationship is exciting and you want to spend as much time with that person as possible, but M works a lot of nights so there was always a regular option for me to hang out with the girls, but only if I organised it. Meanwhile, they were organising things without me.

A few months into the relationship, M and I found out we were expecting a child. Our friends were excited for us (well, mostly – you know how the normal reaction to someone announcing a pregnancy is one of congratulations? One “friend” shocked us by just saying “oh, right” and changing topics) but if it was possible for the same group of girls to retreat even more, they did. To the point of one of them, A, actually saying that they’d stopped inviting me out because they figured I wouldn’t want to go because I’m pregnant! This friend has a habit of not engaging her brain before she speaks, so I’m not totally surprised by her saying something that strange, but I’m pregnant, not confined to my bed or dead.  I also keep getting a lot of “oh, I must come up and visit” statements, but no follow through.

So, the above situation combined with not having worked since I found out I was pregnant (lost my job the day after I found out and haven’t been able to find another) so I don’t have even work colleagues to interact with, only sporadically catching up with friends and family, and generally feeling like a useless lump (my partner works to support us and when he’s not working there’s so much that needs doing on our property before baby comes so he works his arse off doing that), has left me feeling very down.

I decided to try and fix this by joining an online parents forum. BIG mistake.  I joined in some topics, asked for some advice, and was feeling particularly good about it. That was, however, until my opinion on a topic ran counter to what some others thought, and that’s when the claws came out. This particular topic was posted to get some advice on tactfully rejecting an offer of a mother-in-law’s very old, outdated, non-safety-compliant (to today’s laws and standards) baby items, like a cot and mattress. Apparently, this mother-in-law hasn’t been convinced that what worked for her children 30 years ago is not necessarily appropriate today. I responded by saying to reiterate that she is grateful for the offer but will be buying items that are compliant with today’s laws and standards for baby items. I also added that if the mother-in-law threw a tantrum or felt her feelings were hurt then I’m not necessarily sure I’d want my child to have much of a relationship with her – my child’s safety will be the most important thing in the world to me, far more important than someone’s sentimental feelings over some furniture, and I’d expect a family member to care about her safety as much as me, or at least very close to me. How could I trust my child to be ever in a family member’s care if they’ve already shown they don’t respect my wishes when it comes to her safety?

Well, apparently I’m the biggest bitch in the world because I’m not taking this mother-in-law’s feelings into consideration. Damn right I’m not, and neither should they – after politely declining the offer, that should be the end of it. If mother-in-law gets upset, that’s her issue. I refuse to pander to someone at the expense of my child. No, I would not accept someone’s offer of a cot painted with lead paint and not constructed safely, plus a mattress that the mother-in-law had actually stated had mice in it once. So, instead of finding an online supportive community, I’ve fallen into a place where you either tell people what they want to hear or prepare to be bullied. If you try and defend yourself, your posts get taken down.

What’s an expectant mother to do? Why was it deemed so unreasonable that if I was in the poster’s shoes I would decline politely citing safety and current standards, and if that wasn’t enough for this person I’d maybe reconsider what relationship my child had with them? I was painted as someone who would be happy to write off a family relationship very quickly, when that’s not the case. Why is it so hard to get through to some people that my child’s safety would be first and foremost and if a family member showed that her safety wasn’t a concern to them then I wouldn’t feel right ever leaving her in their care?

I’m off the forum now – there were a lot of topics that had dissolved into people attacking one another for whatever reason, and also a lot of topics that showed that people are pandering to their family regarding certain issues involving a child. I’m expecting to be expected to pander to my partner’s family over certain issues, but I’ll get into that tomorrow.

End rant…for now.

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