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.

FATIGUE

Fatigue – that pervasive feeling that dominates all aspects of life when you’re the parent of little people.

You’ve forgotten what it’s like to breastfeed 2 to 3 to 4 times a night, changing nappies in between. You covet Sean’s snores. You lay sleeping beauty down, swaddled and satisfied. You begin to drift into oblivion. And just then when you see it within your grasp – the ever prized SLEEP – the alarm goes off. You’re startled – “really!” You stumble out of bed, tripping over the talking train. “Are you still there?” It asks over and over again.

You scramble to get the kids up for school.

You drink your second coffee for the morning and still you can’t shake it off. It grips you and pulls you down – from your eyelids to your bottom, everything going south. Now you’re looking for somewhere to sit so you can hold your head up. You read the ingredients on the container for the umpteenth time this week – and you’re convinced. This is all a ploy to get people like you to buy the stuff. They say it contains caffeine which is a supposed stimulant. Only you’re not stimulated. You’re in a vegetative state – groaning, waiting for the darn thing to work and wake you up!!!!

It doesn’t and you know it’s all a lie – make believe like your daughters fairy tales. Your lips gave that coffee true loves Kiss and everything is still not ok. The adventure has not ended. It continues as Tal spills cereal on her school shirt. Zaza screams “mine” running from Ellie who lunges foreword to grab or slap. Baby cries for her change. Sean walks in on que “we’re leaving in 5!!!”

It’s all a blur. It’s motherhood on the rougher days when family life is not tinted in hues of pink and gold.