I'm terribly sorry if I have misled you all - that was never my intention. I'm a little worried that some people may be under the mistaken impression that my children lead a charmed life full of whimsical tea parties, theme dinners and picnics; a life full of jolly fun, a magical memory-filled enviable childhood. Because after all, this blog was called (until very recently) "Greatfun4kids". And wasn't it all about having fun with your kids? Wasn't I meant to be some kind of role model for an impromptu fun-filled life?
No, no, no. If you thought that, I'm sorry but you have me pegged all wrong.
While you may have imagined that the person who could pull off a party for no reason at the drop of a hat must be exceedingly energetic and well organised in the domestic department - and while you may have been under the impression that my kitchen always smells like fresh muffins and every dinner is themed - nothing could be further from the truth. I am anything but energetic. I am more often boring than fun. And I only bake when I have to.
The truth is that I am in fact a struggling mum.
All the things you might take for granted that good mothers do - cooking nutritious dinners, packing well balanced lunch boxes, reminding my kids to do their homework/clean their teeth/wash behind their ears - these are the things I am completely rubbish at. Rubbish, I tell you.
I am terrible at the mundane repetitious aspects of parenting. In fact I think in all honesty I am really only very good at two things:
1) I am good at listening/talking to my kids (I really know them, we talk)
2) I am good at throwing parties
It's true. Ask my kids, ask my husband - ask my mother-in-law?!
You thought I threw parties because I'm really awesome at everything else and the parties are just the icing on the cake? Oho, no, no no. I'm just good at those two things.
So when I'm feeling guilty for my lack of energy, my lazy evening meal rotations, my rubbish memory and inconsistent domestic skills (or the fact that I forgot to organise anything for the kids to do in the school holidays), I throw a party to make myself feel like a better mum.
Then I can say to myself, Look, we're creating memories here. See, I'm not that much of a lazy mother after all.
It's far easier for me to put a bit of creativity into a school holiday gathering and call it a party, than it is to try EVERY DAY to come up with something exciting for dinner. I hate cooking dinner. Hate it. Sometimes I don't even cook vegies, we just have spag bol on it's own - that's how bad I am.
But I throw a mean impromptu party.
So to everyone who thinks I do all the stuff that other mums do AND throw parties for no reason as well.... nope. I don't. I struggle with the everyday stuff that most mums seem to do in their sleep, but I kinda rock at parties.
I play to my strengths, and try not to get too down on myself for all the ways I drop the ball. I tell myself that when my kids are grown up, and they are rocking flatting because they have been making their own breakfasts and lunches since they were six, they will look back and think I wasn't too bad of a mum.
After all, look how independant they became through having to remember themselves to do homework/make sandwiches/take a shower? And those impromptu parties WERE fun.
And their birthday parties were flippin awesome. Legendary, even.
And mum may have been a bit of a lazy arse but she was good at listening to us, and we are really close now that we're through all those crazy hormonal teenage years.
This is what I tell myself.
Meanwhile, if this confession has left you feeling horrified and right now you're pitying my poor neglected kids and wondering how the poor wee mites will survive such inept parenting, please feel free to pat yourself on the back and feel very good about what a vastly superior mum you are.
Yep, you are welcome to feel good about those amazing healthy bento boxes you send your kids to kindy/school with and the healthy, balanced meals you dish up night after night. Heaven forbid a child of yours should go to bed/school without brushing his/her teeth or go out of the house wearing mismatched socks.
Congratulate yourself on the way that you ALWAYS make sure your kids have done their homework and that bath/bed/story routine is observed every night. After all, consistency is the key to good parenting, right? (They'll never find you, like me, slobbing on the couch at 6.30pm, refusing to do one more thing because you are DONE.)
You are rocking motherhood in a way I can only dream about. But do you ever throw spontaneous parties? Nope? You should try it sometime, they're fun!
But maybe you're a wee bit like me and my confession is a little bit of a relief. You're not the only one who is feeling inadequate at this mother hood lark, wahoo. The mundane repetition of the daily grind kills you, too. You feel like puking with anxiety and guilt every time someone mentions that "consistency is the key to good parenting". Like me, you procrastinate and take shortcuts and cook the same five dinners on rotation and feel way too guilty, way too often.
Cut yourself some slack. We may struggle a bit in some areas that others find easy, but we have our strengths too. I reckon if you think about it for a minute you can come up with at least a couple of things you really rock at, as a mum.
And throwing the odd party for no reason might be the very thing you need to boost your spirits, every now and then!
You may be surprised at how easy it is.
All you need is some bunting, a few friends and some cake.
If you don't have bunting, just friends and cake.
If you can't find friends at short notice, just cake and bunting and your kids.
There should always be cake (but you can always train your kids to bake it).
Impromptu parties are so enjoyable, truly.
I am very sneaky these days. I make sure to invite mums I want to hang out with who have children my kids will enjoy playing with. Everyone brings food to share ("something festive"). I call it a party, and once you call it a party, it is one.
Our latest party was in the Spring school hols, so I decorated a bit spring-y. Ripped some flowery weeds out of the grass and plonked them in a tin. Wrote "Spring is here" on my chalkboard. That sort of thing.
I baked scones and Maxabella's divine blueberry yoghurt cake.
While I was decorating Scrag came up and said doubtfully, "Mum this kind of looks more like a party for ladies than for kids..."
Ha, you sprung me darling boy!
Sometimes the ladies need a party too.
But don't worry, we turned on the garden hose, filled up our water guns and the kids went nuts squirting each other all afternoon. Scrag forgot that he'd ever suspected this party was for grownups, and declared it "loads of fun". We all hung out with our friends and completely lost track of the time - we were all having so much fun, the guests were still there at 5 o'clock!
Next time I hit the wall and my kids come in to the pit where I'm lying, overwhelmed, and complain "You're ALWAYS tired! You're ALWAYS feeling poorly! We NEVER do anything" I can tell myself, It's OK, cos sometimes, I'm awesome.
MORE STORIES FROM THE TRENCHES OF MOTHERHOOD:
Confessions of a Lazy Mother
A Lazy Mother's Guide to Defeating Drudgery
My Ten Worst Mothering Moments (and what I learned)
Ten Cool Things About Motherhood
SOME IMPROMPTU PARTIES: