IF I COULD CHOOSE, I’D BE A LADY AT DOWNTON ABBEY

Watching the royal wedding this weekend made me think about how slow and luxurious life could be if everything was done for you. Ha my kids are Royal for sure!!!! For Sean and I though, parenting, life in Jo’burg in general is such a rush. I try to consciously do things slower to enjoy them,’ savor the precious moments – the look of  Zaza’s cute puffy face as she says: “one more huffy mummy, one more kissy”. The naughty “catch me if you can” look on Ellie’s face before she darts off with a forbidden sweet. The feel of a Teh’s tiny body clinging to mine as she falls asleep and Tali’s flashing smile when she figures out something complex. These are the everyday mundane things that are extraordinary in little people. These are the ordinary memories that make up the rich tapestry of our family life. And I choose to savor them because they disappear as quickly as they come.

But try as I might, I live life on the run. Perhaps it’s the lifestyle we’ve chosen. It’s high impact and fast paced. Sean works hard and arduous hours and so though we see one another we don’t have time to talk about stuff – the stuff that requires attention for us to manage our lives and the lives of 4 other people. It’s not the first time that I’ve had hubby on speaker phone while driving the kids to school to tell him about how one of the bairns broke a frame or about leaking pipes or a school event or or or…..

 

It’s not ideal. I know many people who have opted for a quieter life out in smaller slower places than the city. We haven’t set our sights so far a field yet. Perhaps because this is where family is, our bread and butter is, our friends are, or perhaps we’re city people.

 

If I could choose though, I think I’d like to be a grand lady at Downtown Abbey and have the butler Carlton manage our home affairs. Imagine that! Mrs Patmore, planning our family’s lavish dinner EVERY NIGHT!!!!

 

But as it stands, we’re not gentry. We’re working class – who live a lot better than Mrs Hughes and Carlton I might just add – and that means that I get to be Lady of my own manor, the wife, mother of many, the butler, nanny, driver, housemaid and cook all in one too.

 

In the end it’s a balancing act, and a strange kind of contradiction: – slowly savoring the moments, enjoying being the Lady, without allowing the mad rush of life’s management to swallow it all up.

CARVING OUT THE TIME

I remember asking a friend once if she went on dates with her husband. She replied mockingly: “dates, what’s that?”.

That’s how so many parents feel. I sometimes think that I when Sean and I had kids we somehow disappeared into them. They came from us and became us. The chaos of parenting is often all consuming. Sean, when not wrapped up with demanding work is being a dad. And when I’m not working or writing, I’m mothering. And when all is said and done and you have that sought after moment (usually after 8 when cherubs are asleep and dishes cleared) – the quite sets in.

That’s when Sean and I have time to ourselves and it’s often at that time that we fall into craved sleep. Or we do a magic trick and turn into vegetables, I a pumpkin and Sean a potato in front of the TV. Admittedly brain numbing TV takes all the strain of the day away but it’s like white bread – good to taste without nutrition. And as for sleep – when you do manage to sleep through or sleep deeply, you wake up energized having taken a break from your kids but gained nothing for yourself.

That’s why Sean and I entrenched date night. I thank God for live in nannies. Sharon watches over the bubs while we escape, albeit exhausted to a night out with friends, a movie or dinner alone. Ah the bliss of date night!!!!!! I can dress up. I can eat warm food, sometimes gourmet food, that I haven’t cooked. I can drink delicious warm coffee. I can hold my mans hands and his gaze and not be pulled away by little fingers. And we can talk and listen and catch-up, connect, flirt and under stand one another again.

We try not to look at our phones or talk about our little people appendages. It forces us to find one another in the fast pace of life.

It’s not always possible to carve out the time away for just the two of us. But we do it because we need it. My husband is my best friend. I need him to know my head and heart space. And he needs the same thing. We need to stay strong as a couple to parent effectively. It’s fundamental.