Gone Bear, Don’t Care

I’ve never thought of myself as having much in common with bears. Sure, there is the fact that we’re both mammals, and I have often been described as a bear with a sore head when I don’t get enough sleep (which explains much of the past 5 years!). But there is one other clever trait of the bear I’ve adopted this Winter – the wonderful art of hibernation – and now I see so many striking similarities between us (sleeping, eating, grizzling, protecting) and I’d say I owe them a debt of gratitude.

First let me clarify that when I say hibernate, I’m not as lucky as a mama bear who can stuff her face with berries until her tummy hurts before she tucks herself in for a three-month sleep, only rousing to feed her cubs. There are daily tasks that must be done like drop-offs, pick-ups, swimming lessons, homework (and sadly there’s no self-cleaning function in our cave). But beyond the simple bear necessities of caring for my cubs and hubs, my winter hibernation has been about saying ‘no’ waaay more than usual, be it to social events, gatherings, phone calls, social media… and instead hanging out with myself, putting my needs first, and getting some much-needed space. If I’d have put a sign on my front door it would have said: ‘Gone Bear, Don’t Care’.


So why did I do it? Because I completely lost any sense of ‘free time’ (not to be confused with ‘me time’). My lifestyle as a Mama-of three is so fast-paced and my family schedule is so back-to-back that I’d started to resent even the scheduled time-outs for myself, like my much-loved yoga class, because anything ‘scheduled’ felt like pressure and more to the point, it was taking up those microscopically tiny windows of ‘free time’. A girl needs to see blank spaces on the schedule!

At first it felt out of character, anti-social and dare I say selfish. But once I got into the groove I started to feel the freedom I was craving, and for the first time ever completely unapologetic in my self-serving behaviour.

Now post-hibernation, when self-doubts creep in I ask my inner bear: ‘Would you get sick with stress about cancelling plans? Do you really care what other people think about you? Is it actually possible to meet your own stupidly high standards of yourself?’

The new answer to these old questions is HELLS-NO. I’m pretty sure that when a bear is having a bad hair day and her breath wreaks of rainbow trout she totally owns it and struts her stuff around the forest like nobodies business ‘cos homegirl knows exactly who she is and doesn’t need anyone’s approval. And I’d say that after a sleepless night with her cubs when she fancies a nap but has three playdates booked in, she texts her mates to cancel, switches her phone on silent (OK, she would if she had a phone and knew how to use it) and nods off for that nap without so much as an anxious sigh.

So here’s what I’ve learnt in my Winter hiberation:

(a) I really like being a bear

(b) I’m more comfortable in my own skin when I’m not always trying to please everyone else

(c) I’m not perfect [whaaaat?!] and nobody EXCEPT ME holds this against me

d) **THE MOST IMPORTANT BIT** I want to teach my cubs that looking after their needs is a smart choice – not a guilty pleasure

There you have it. I’ve bear-ed all on this topic. A little hibernation is really a clever survival strategy to cope when shit gets overwhelming and you can’t catch a breath. None of this is resonating with you? It just sounds un-bear-ably wanky? I suggest you crawl into your cave and find your own goddamn inner bear. Ponder. Roar. Grizzle. Snore. I think you’ll get something out of it.

Daddy’s Home (don’t mind me)

Do you hear that? I think I hear time itself stop….

… Oops. My bad. It’s the front door.

D A D D Y’ S   H O M E ! ! ! !

Here he is – the man of the hour – swanning in through the front door with his non-chalant swagger (and rugged good-looks), full of pride and joy watching his little mini-me’s race each other up the hallway to see who can get a hug from him first.

Hey guys, don’t mind me.

Yes I’m talking about you, Daddy. Daddy wearing the tired but contented look of a man who has worked the day away in a safe little office. Perfectly protected from biting babies and defiant Threenagers. Deaf to the incessant questions of the curious kindergartener. Superbly shielded from the snotty smears, the tearful tantrums, the mind-bending negotiations [and brain explosions] that have taken place in our home for the past ummm… let me see… T E N   H O U R S.

But Daddy’s home. Three cheers for him.

Continue reading Daddy’s Home (don’t mind me)

Here’s looking at you, kids

From the second you give life to your precious baby, every moment of your existence centres around those tiny hands, those delicious feet, those adorable gurgly noises (that incredible baby smell). It’s unlike anything else. It’s empowering. It’s intoxicating. It’s all-consuming. But in the constant pursuit to satisfy your precious baby’s needs, wants and feelings, it’s easy to forget about your own. What do you need (besides one uninterrupted sleep)? What do you want (besides cocktails poolside in Hawaii)? What do you feel (besides complete and utter exhaustion)?

And if you’re anything like me, it’s not long until you start to ask yourself, ‘Why don’t I feel like ‘Me’ anymore? Have I changed? Where did the ‘Old Me’ go? Hang on a sec, I don’t even know who ‘Me’ is? ‘Is ‘Mummy Me’ the new Me?’

Can’t be. Mummy Me doesn’t do things the way the Old Me would…

Mummy Me does anything to avoid a playdate in her once-perfect home. Mummy Me has zero patience for playing imaginary games with her toddler but performs Let It Go as Queen Elsa with gritted teeth while hoping the baby doesn’t slip from her breast. Mummy Me cooks the same basic meals for her impossibly fussy eaters in the fastest way possible while scribbling down the homework that’s due tomorrow. Mummy Me hides in the bathroom simply to catch her breath and realises that she’s talking to herself and it’s the sanest part of her day. Mummy Me gets totally overcome by it all and starts to feel hopelessly lost…

What is happening? This chick is nothing like
I am, was… I mean, thought I’d be…

Suddenly, Mummy Me finds she isn’t Queen Elsa anymore, she’s a timid, confused Snow White. She’s frightened and alone, running deeper into the Enchanted Forest. In her frenzied dash to find the solution to her identity crisis she stumbles over days-old washing and falls to the floor (where are the Seven Dwarfs when you need them?). Someone calls out her name. She looks up and sees that it’s not the Huntsman tracking her down to cut out her heart and bring it back to the evil Queen! It’s the innocent, hopeful and unwavering eyes of her kids. Staring at her.

Then something magic happens. Everything Mummy Me is searching for is staring straight back at her. In the pure little faces of her babies she sees everything she was and everything she is becoming.

A Girl. A Woman. A Mummy. A Fearless Goddamn Heroine.

So here’s looking at you, kids. The magic mirror ain’t got nothing on you.

K-MUMbler xx

And Then There Were Three

We didn’t plan on having three kids under the age of five (does anyone actually do that?).

We could barely manage our 15-month-old and three year-old while my Hubby was setting up a new business when I got the bloated gassy tummy, the overwhelming tiredness and the unsightly pimples around my mouth that all screamed KATEY, YOU ARE HAVING A BABY!!!!

So I took a pregnancy test. For the first time ever I was petrified of it being positive. I have always wanted a big family, but Motherhood turned out to be the complete opposite of what I’d imagined and the past four years had proven to be the hardest of my life to date. Continue reading And Then There Were Three