I’m ‘that mum’ & proud of it

In a recent post in the Mama’s Comfort Camp FB group, there was a thread where one mum commented that she didn’t want to be labelled ‘that mum’. We all know ‘that mum’ & whatever it is that’s had her labelled as such. The mum that has certain idiosyncrasies, mannerisms, oddness, bluntness, pushiness or completely neurotic - whatever it is that makes her ‘that mum’. This particular post on MCC was about a mum who’s sending her child to kindergarten & her child has a nut allergy. Despite the school having rules & regulations when it came to students with any allergies or intolerance’s or medical conditions, her concern was more about the other kids & the parents respecting the rules especially as she can no longer be there all the time to ensure her child safety. And she didn’t want to be ‘that mum’ that most of us don’t want to be.

So I’m putting this out there. I WANT to be ‘that mum’. I want to be ‘that mum’ that’s not afraid what others will think about me – for standing up for my kids, for disciplining them whenever & wherever it’s required no matter who’s around, for ensuring their safety & security, for insisting that other parents respect the way in which we’ve decided to bring up out kids – everything from faith to what clothes brands fill up their wardrobes. Note, I didn’t say that other people should accept our decisions & choices that we’re making for our kids, but I’m asking for them to respect them.

After thinking about this for a few days, these are the ways I’m already & will forever be ‘that mum’:

* I’m ‘that mum’ in that insist that my kids use their manners. I will stand there until they utter those damn annoying words ‘thank you for having me’ when leaving a friends house, I’ll tell them to thank the waiter/waitress that delivers their drink/meal to our table, to thank the checkout person at the supermarket, to thank their bus driver, doctors, dentists – ANYONE they come into contact with. Manners are just decent & a display of kindness & I want my kids to not take anything or anyone for granted.

* I am ‘that mum’ that won’t accept a dinner invitation when I know the kids will have a late night. I know the ramifications for the late night & I’m the one that has to deal with it that night, the next day (& sometimes a few days after) & often a few nights also. My sanity relies on sleep, so I’m looking out for myself too. So thank you for your kind invitation, I’ll accept it in a few years or next week without the kids.

* I am ‘that mum’ that watches my son around food in case he puts something in his mouth that he might choke on. Luckily for me (??) he has a food aversion (for which we’ve just started a feeding clinic) so I’m pretty sure he’ll not put anything he deems unsafe into his mouth, but it doesn’t stop me watching him because I don’t enjoy seeing him gag & vomit.

* I am ‘that mum’ that is strict about time for dinner, bath & bed time. My kids do better with routine & structure & frankly, so do I.

* I am ‘that mum’ that gets my sons ears checked after he’s had a snotty nose for a few days, because it’s been our experience that he gets an ear infection which is not only painful but also affects his hearing & speech. And given his history with reflux (until he was 18mths) & the correlation between ear infections & reflux I’m always extra vigilant. I didn’t want to be ‘that mum’ with my second child, but the universe told me I didn’t have a choice.

* I’m ‘that mum’ that will be the first to tell you that’s it’s ok to not be instantly in love with your newborn baby. Just because you have carried this baby, it doesn’t mean you know them & are besotted by them. It can take time, especially after a premature birth or difficult delivery. It’s just like any relationship – you didn’t instantly fall in love with your partner, it took time. So please be kind to yourself if that instant Mack truck of love doesn’t hit you. And in addition to this, I’m also ‘that mum’ that will tell you that there will be times that having a baby, sometimes, is nothing like a Huggies ad. Seriously, those mums wear crisp white shirts & have pristine houses!

* I’m ‘that mum’ that gets really really annoyed when you tell me how to parent & or when you minimise any of my hardships because you’re a one-upper or just one of those insensitive types. Why can’t you just say, ‘I don’t know how you feel, but I’m here whenever you need to talk about it’. Surely kindness beats competition.

* I’m ‘that mum’ that will not judge how you give birth or judge whether you breastfeed or bottle feed your baby. The type of birth you have is about the health & safety of you & your baby & how you nourish your baby are merely methods of feeding your baby & is in no way, a gauge  or reflection for how much you love & have bonded with your baby. I’m ‘that mum’ will defend your decision, because YOU are the mother & need to do what’s best for you, your baby & your nuclear family.

* I’m ‘that mum’ that will escort my kids away from yours or increase the gap between us in the queue if I see that your kids are snotty & coughing. I don’t want Orli getting sick, well because I don’t want her to be sick, but more so because I don’t want her getting Flynn sick. Even though I feel as though we are out of the woods when it comes to his Laryngomalacia & his breathing has been good for over a year now, nothing scares me more than him getting croup, whopping cough or any type of respiratory infection. Yes, I know it’s me & still suffering with an element of PTSD with him hospitalised as a baby for nine weeks & having numerous tests & procedures done. But more than that, I don’t want to see him suffering again or struggling to breathe. And you want to see me turn into ‘that mum’ quicker than anything – drop your off at kindy or creche with snot running down their face or a barky cough. Seriously!?

Thank you to all the mums on MCC that contributed to the thread & put another mothers mind at ease. And thank you to that mum who got me thinking about being ‘that mum’.

I’m proud to be ‘that mum’. You know why? Because my kids deserve me to be!

 

An open letter to the International Mummy Olympic Committee

Dear IMOC,

I’ve been a proud member of your organisation since September 2008 when my daughter was born. I didn’t know this then, but I was thrust into this organisation by association, rather than membership. For the most part the members of your ‘infant, baby, toddler & pre-school’ divisions are supportive, informative, constructive & compassionate. And then there’s the other part – the judgy, high-horse & disapproving members that seem to have a louder voice than the members I feel I have more in common with.

I try to avoid interactions with these members, or remain tightly lipped when in their company because frankly, it causes me to become defensive, bring out my sarcastic smart-arseness & get my back up quicker than anything you can imagine.

I often wonder why these members are so judgemental. Sometimes I rationalise it by saying it’s because they’re covering up their own insecurities, questioning their own parenting decisions & choices & gripping onto their own anxieties. There are other times I actually don’t care why they are the way they are, I just want them to stop it & shut up – respectfully of course.

We all want to be the best parents we can be. We all want to have happy & healthy kids. We all want them brought up to be contributing & respectful members of society. We all do the best we can with the means we have. Why can’t we all just support one another through this hard, unrelenting, testing, tiring, confusing & all encompassing part of our lives? There are so many events in the mummy Olympics & I’m just not interested in competing.

I know there is the other layer to my parenting decisions & actions based on the whereabouts of Patty & Selma as those bitches often cloud my brain making me over-analyse, over-think, deplete my motivation & energy & I have to work extra hard sometimes to just make it through the day. And I’m well aware that Selma often rears her head when it comes to Flynny because of the start he had & because of his ongoing medical & behavioural issues & concerns, but this response is because of the feelings & memories that come about when thinking about it all & no one can judge me about that (can you see my back up through your screens yet?) One thing I can say is that I’d fair well in the ‘mad sad mummy’ events!

If my kids have taught me anything, it’s that they do things in their own time. Orli decided to crawl at 19 months & got up one day at 25 months to walk. There was nothing wrong with her. We still had a Pead assess her & also do a hip x-ray in the case there was something medically compromising her. Despite all of this, I got questioned as to why she was being lazy, being a ‘lump’ for just sitting & blaming me for her delayed walking as I carried her everywhere & had her in the pram at the shops, or worse, let her crawl around at her age.

Years later, Flynn couldn’t drink more than 40-50mls from his bottle because of his Laryngomalacia, but we got to the stage that he was drinking enough so that he maintained or even (slowly) gained weight. He was also called lazy, often bothered the nursing staff that had to tube feed him as they had other things to do & other patients to attend to.

I often get questioned by mothers of kids that are (luckily) healthy & never been unwell as to why we are pursuing certain therapies for him. Flynn has feeding delays & due to his reflux & sensitive gag reflex he’s still eating puree as he chokes & gags & then vomits any food that doesn’t feel safe for him to swallow. He eats dissolvable snack & even biscuits but it takes him a long time for him to find these snacks ‘safe’ to eat. I watch him & read his queues & he tells me when he’s ready. We’ve spent days playing with food before he’s put anything in his mouth, but when he does, it’s the most rewarding feeling ever & keeps me motivated & hopeful for days. And that’s something that some high-horses won’t see from way so up high.

As a result of Flynn’s feeding delay & lack of chewing (hence jaw development) & a number of ear infections last Winter, at 22 months he’s not speaking yet – he only has about six words. He can hold full conversations, but only he can understand them. I am not concerned about this because I know he will speak one day, but if there is something I can do to help him I will. So we started speech therapy this week. That’s right judgies, my less than two year old is having speech therapy. (I’m giving you some time to mumble mumble your opinions here – yes, I know it’s considerate of me). And I am crying as I’m typing this, but the same place, they also have a feeding clinic so they’re going to help my little boy learn to eat & to trust food & textures & provide him with confidence – something that I try each & every day but aren’t able to provide him on my own. So, yes, I’m taking him to feeding therapy too. My 22 monther that looks healthy, is engaging, is lovely & edible & my heart explode to a feeding clinic.

No one can understand the level is sadness, frustration, disheartening moments, anger & dread when your child can’t eat. Being able to feed your child is primal & when this is taken away from you the grief & feelings of being robbed overtakes you & take a long time to dissipate, if ever. To even know that my son can attend a feeding clinic is beyond thrilling for me. To those judgy high-horses, no my son is not lazy, I have not enforced his eating preferences, I have not delayed his feeding because of my anxiety & because it’s easier. He chokes, he gags & he vomits. And if you’re comfortable watching your child do that, then kudos to you.

No parent, whether the members of the compassionate committee or high-horses, would avoid, delay or refuse to provide their kids anything that would help them. So do it, don’t do it, but don’t judge me for doing it. And if you’re going to judge me, make sure you’re far enough away from me or my family or be prepared for me to hand my shoes to you & offer you to wear them for a day (thank you Kirsten xoxo). Oh & if we’re going to be honest, I give myself enough judgmental crap… I really don’t need any more from you gavel holders! Now, gallop along to the next Olympic event with all your ribbons & medals as you head back to the stables.

Thank you IOMC for providing me with so many supportive, wonderful, caring, generous & beautiful mums for me to ask advice, lean on, cry & celebrate with. One thing I know for sure, is that this gig would be a lot harder without them. And for the ‘other’ members, good luck & don’t hurt yourself as you climb down from your horses or break a nail on your gavel.

PS. If you would like to become a member of the most non-judgmental group ever, join the Mama’s Comfort Camp. I’ve written about them previously herehere & we are celebrating our anniversary (or birthday) the month of March. To join the group, click on the link below. This URL goes to the Mama’s Comfort Camp open FB page. If you would like to join the closed group, please let us know on that page & you will be added. New members are added every week on New Member Monday, so I’ll just say, see you on Monday!

 

 

Medico mumbo jumbo

I’m feeling angry, frustrated & a little sad right now. And it’s all because of some snot. Flynny’s snot.
Flynn is still considered ‘failure to thrive’ according to medicos as his weight is not on the graph yet. He’s been consistently sitting on no percentile just following the graphs incline but nowhere near where he’s ‘meant’ to be. In laypersons terms, he’s actually not failing to thrive because he’s doing great. He’s meeting his developmental milestones, alert, engaging & just so beautiful.
He does however have feeding issues. He still has reflux & an extremely sensitive gag reflex & will vomit easily if he feels he needs to. He’s still being fed pureed food as any lumps or grains makes him gag or choke. He’s been assessed by a more than one speech pathologist & they both concluded that his chewing & swallowing is delayed but will improve over time. If my kids have taught me anything is that they’ll do things in their own time when they are good & ready. Orli was developmentally delayed & walked at 25 months, Flynn is still eating pureed foods at 15 months- whatever. I digress.
Three weeks ago I noticed that Flynn was chewing on his puree – he was starting to understand to use his jaw when eating. I had been encouraging this motion by offering him rusks & other dissolvable snacks & he seemed to catch on to what he needed to do. I gave him a little Rafferty’s fruit bar & he ate it pretty well with only a few coughs & no vomit which was fantastic! I felt I was in tune with him & letting him decide when he was ready to progress to this next stage of eating. By feeding himself he can control what goes in his mouth & how much & my gut tells me his chewing & swallowing will improve with him being in the drivers seat.
When Floo gets sick he really struggles eating & drinking which is really hard to witness & manage. Whether or not his tonsils & adenoids are too large I don’t know, but with the build up of mucus at the back of his throat doesn’t leave much room for his food & his sensitive gag reflex goes into overdrive. My maternal & primal instinct to feed my child has to be left by the wayside while we manage to get enough food into him so he doesn’t get hungry whilst not forcing him to eat & then vomit & then be averse to being fed at all. It’s a very slippery slope which I’ve had to climb many times this Winter.
Flynny’s also had four ear infections this Winter (so far) so I got a referral to our ENT for a review on getting grommets. My theory (& yes, I don’t need to be reminded I’m not a doctor) was that if he could better drain the mucus it would help in lessening the likelihood of ear infections & also help to empty the mucus at the back of his throat so he doesn’t have to endure the gagging, chocking & vomiting each meal when he’s unwell. I also wanted the ENT to check his tonsils & adenoids & check if they’re obstructing any pipes & also because Orli had sleep Apnea & had her tonsils & adenoids removed when she was two. And grommets as she has up to 40%  & 25% hearing loss in both ears due to glue ear.
The ENT appointment confirmed minimal hearing loss but not enough to warrant grommets just yet. I explained to the ENT (who was filling in from our actual doctor who was away) that my concern is his gagging & vomiting but she felt we should wait another few months & be reassessed. As much as I was disappointed by her using the hearing test to determine whether or not he neeed grommets (which is correct), I wanted her to also consider his feeding issues when making that decision. I was also sad that he had some hearing loss. Why should he have any hearing loss? I also reminded her that he had Laryngomalacia & didn’t want his breathing to be further restricted by excessive mucus or large tonsils & adenoids. And I’m also fearful that he might aspirate when he’s sick which I want to avoid. I need to point out here that I don’t want my son having surgery if he doesn’t need to – which mother would – but I would very much like for him to not have to struggle breathing & eating.
So today I took Flynn to the GP as he’s been miserable & very snotty the past few days. His feeding has been hard work & he’s projectile vomited at least once every meal. (I am careful not to get upset or worried or jumpy when it happens as I want to ensure he doesn’t get any feeding anxieties by my reactions). I wanted to have his ears checked to see if he had any infections as each time he has been sick this Winter it has led to him having infections. The doctor informed me that his ears were not red nor bulging & suggested I manage his cold with Panadol. I told him that his colds usually lead to ear infections but he was confident that he’d be ok – so was another doctor at that clinic & I was back two days later & left with a script as an ear infection had developed.
I just wish I didn’t have to explain each time why I wanted some action taken. I wish medicos would take on board what I say to them, I wish they would listen, I wish I wouldn’t be disregarded & treated like any other mother & child. We’re not. We’re Yuz & Flynn. And to say Flynn’s medical history has been like any other child is just wrong. I want to medicos to be consistent. Don’t ask me what I’m doing to increase the amount of calories Flynn has each day to try & get him on the graph when you won’t help me to help him to eat, stop refluxing, stop chocking & stop gagging.
I know that Selma accompanies me to my medical appointments, but so does my love & care for my child. I try very hard to keep Selma muted & not impact my decisions when it comes to Flynn, but rather my maternal instincts & the fact that I know my child. For the five minutes you’re in a doctors office & the five minutes the doctor is part of our lives it feels as though we’re all being compartmentalised & pigeon holed based on little information & lack of proof nor experience of having to live with it each day & night. It leaves me feeling as though I am catastrophising, inviting & then emersing myself in drama all while second guessing myself for even doing anything to start with.
I’m not sure what will happen at our next ENT appointment when I ask for a sleep study to be done as Flynn has started snoring & breathing through his mouth when he sleeps. I need to know if he has any Apnea because if so, I want it managed & if not, I will be thrilled & relieved. I just want to help my son & I wish they could all see that without wearing their compartmentalised glasses & limited experience when it comes to LM kids. If it’s not your speciality, then be humble & refer us on. I won’t think any less of you even with all the initials after your name, I will be grateful because it’s shown you that you care & also want to help.
I know I am feeling even more frustrated than usual as I’ve got other things occupying my mind at the moment & also because some of Flynn’s malacia friends are unwell & their mums are having a hard time with their medicos & I’m sure I am wearing some of their frustrations & anger too, so I really needed to get this on paper & try & calm down about the whole thing.
I just wish it didn’t have to be this hard.

Things you’ll never hear me say

I’ve previously written about things that I’ve learnt & also things I wanna do/have/eat/see etc, but this time I’m taking another approach & listing some of the things you will never hear me say. So, without further ado, here we go.

Oh it’s just reflux. That will pass.

I love when you downplay my anxieties about anything related to Flynn’s health or feeding issues.

That’s the grocery shopping done for the week. I won’t need to step back into the store for seven whole days.

Oh, you’ve been diagnosed with PND/PPD. Are you sure it’s not just the baby blues? Maybe go for a walk or go shopping. Things’ll look so much better then.

A day spa. Really? For me? Oh, I couldn’t. There’s so many more other things I’d rather be doing.

Can I please pay for the privilege of you inserting instruments in my wa-wa & taking swabs?

I wouldn’t give my kids leftovers for dinner.

I think it’s really important to follow everything the parenting websites say to do & not to do for your kids. It’s simply crazy not to take their advice because they know you & your child so well.

Thank you so much for the mountain of newborn baby clothes you bought as gifts. I can’t wait to go home & wash them all before my baby can wear them.

Oh wow – the Wiggles are going to be in concert again. We must get tickets.

I just don’t see the point of getting a house cleaner.

The ad said it cleans itself so it must be true.

No, really, come to our house for dinner. I’ll cook. It’s really no bother.

Your baby also has Laryngomalacia. You know it disappears after 12 months.

Oh really, your baby is how old? Shouldn’t they be doing X & Y by now?

If your baby isn’t sleeping through the night by at least six months they never will.

Breast is best.

Thanks for the dinner invitation for a late family dinner. The kids will be fine while being distracted (& your constant reminders of how well they are managing to stay up late is encouraging) but once in the car they will turn feral & be up half the night. I won’t resent your dinner invitation at all & will be looking forward until the next time you do the same thing to us.

I love the cold & Winter is my favourite season.

Yes, that’s it, my child is hungry/tired. Thanks for your helpful insights.

Big deal. So you have to hold your baby all day. How hard can that be?

Orli, I love when you stomp your feet & talk to me with your hands on your hips.

There’s no such thing as colic. It’s a fallacy.

I’ll have a Pepsi thanks.

Oh you’ve had/got gastro/croup/bronchitis & you want to come over. Oh please do & don’t forget to infect the kids. Especially Flynn cos his Laryngomalacia means that he finds it hard to breathe & he loves a challenge!

There’s no such thing as postnatal/postpartum mood disorders (PMDs), it’s just mother’s whinging that it’s harder than they thought.

I love when you compare my baby to yours. They have so much in common, like genetics, temperaments & personalities – they really could be twins.

To the stranger: Wow, I’m amazed how well you know my kids given this is the first time you’ve seen them. What a wonderful gift you have.

Formula smells delicious. I’m going to have it now on instead of milk.

I love housework. My most favourite task is putting away washing. It rocks!

Meh, it’s just money.

I really don’t believe in depression or anxiety. They’re just excuses for being lazy & moody.

Are you sure you want to go out with someone that’s been married before?

You had your baby at 36 weeks too. Oh, well we all know that 36 weeks isn’t really prem.

I find it so comical that every one of my t-shirts gets holes in the exact same spot after wearing them once. And what’s more, I find it amusing that I can’t work out what it’s from.

Mother’s instinct is such bull.

Please take your shoes off inside the house after preschool so that all the sand & tanbark goes everywhere. I’ve just vacuumed so it’s totally fine.

Gee, I hope there’s no chocolate soufflé on the menu.

Hitler was just misunderstood.

No you can’t go to bed early.

I don’t think we should go to Hawaii.

Some people have it so much worse off you know. Your issues really aren’t that bad.

Ah the wind & the rain in my face – nothing can beat that.

To another mother: Are you working at the moment?

Orli, I love when you bring gastro, croup, colds etc home from preschool. I can’t wait till when you bring lice home too.

The internet is such a time waster.

Don’t buy us a lottery ticket cos we might win.

I really love just having the one toilet in the house.

The snack fell on the floor, please put it in the bin.

I wouldn’t put kids into daycare, especially if I wasn’t going to work. It’s cruel to your kids. They really should be home with you.

He/she must be teething.

I find it funny when you call that game a ‘jew jump’.

That’s ok come in, I’m just on the toilet.

Your baby is also ‘failure to thrive’. Isn’t it wonderful constantly worrying about food & feeding issues.

You should really <insert anything here>

I’d love to make dinner tonight. I insist.

Motherhood’s a breeze.

 

I’m sure I’ll be adding to these, but the start I’ve made is quite thorough. Feel free to share with me what things you’ll never say. I’d love to hear them.