Before you have kids you receive a lot of advice. Oodles and oodles of it. It actually does your head in and if you have never had kids before it can scare the hell out of you. It can annoy you and it can also turn you into a neurotic wreck. I remember walking out of the supermarket once when I was heavily pregnant when some little old bloke stopped me and told me that I should not be carrying groceries “in my condition”. I would have karate chopped him in the neck except it may well have made my waters break which might have given the old dear a heart attack and it would have been very messy in the car park, so I ignored his comment and carried on.
I was given advice when I found it hard to breast-feed ranging from you will turn your children into mutants if you use formula to rubbing pig fat on your nipples would help your milk flow. Seriously? Fucking seriously? No wonder mothers are neurotic. It took me several months to realise that you were best off going with your gut and that most advice was best to be ignored. I developed an almost perpetual nod that I combined with a glazed expression when everyone from perfect strangers to very close friends gave me some of the most ludicrous advice I have ever heard in my life. I am surprised that there are not a lot more serial killers in the world with parents like that floating around.
One piece of advice though that I have never forgotten came from my girl Julie-chan who lives in Sydney. It was a piece of advice that she had received from her Mum. At some stage when her son Daniel was 3 or 4 Julie-chan must have been having a bad day and she asked her Mum in frustration how much longer she had to keep saying ‘No’ for. Her mum had answered, another 10 years or so Julie and then you will never have to say ‘No’ again. Julie told that story to me before I had the twins. It stuck in my head and it is still in my head now. You have to keep on saying no over and over and over again. But if you do that then by the time they hit the teenage years you should have instilled enough discipline, enough learning about what is wrong and right that by then a big part of your job is done. That’s what I took away from the story anyway.
I thought of that when I was driving home from Brisbane yesterday. Archie and Rissie were being little turds. They were over-tired, they had had late nights, they are both still unwell, they had had too much iPad time, whatever the reason they were little turds and I literally did not know what to do with them. When we got in the car to go home, I was furious but I was calm. I did actually think to myself, what the hell was I going to do stuck in an airport, or in the middle of a dodgy Costa Rican 6-hour bus journey with two little shits who were just ignoring me. But I was calm, despite the fact that the traffic was like peak hour even though it was Sunday, I was calm even though Rissie was sniffling about the fact that her iPad was not charged, I was calm despite the fact my children seemed only to be able to communicate with a nasal, highly annoying whinge. I was calm. But then after we had been on the road for 20 minutes and Archie told me that he had forgotten his glasses and I had to turn around in that god-forsaken traffic then my calmness seemed to disappear.
Welcome back hysterical Gollum mummy. Welcome back. I lost it. I cried. I got frustrated and I got angry. I let them know I was not impressed with their behaviour. I let them know how furious I was that they could not look after their possessions. I let them know that the fact that their priorities seemed to be based around electronic devices made me so furious I could hardly see straight, which was really not a good thing considering I was driving. I let them also know that I did not think I could cope if they behaved like that when it was just me and them exploring the world.
We got the glasses and then it was another turn around to head back home. It had taken us one hour to get nowhere. After about 15 minutes I had stopped crying and they had started sobbing, but to be honest I was too cross to make them feel better or to say it was alright, because it wasn’t alright. It is so tempting as a parent to tell your kids that it is fine, or that their behaviour is acceptable or let them have a third biscuit or to let them stay awake as long as they want. But as tempting as it is I was not interested yesterday. I remembered Julie-chan’s advice which she got from her mum and I chose to ignore Archie and Larissa, because sometimes it is not ok.
I felt bad. I felt awful and I think I was crying again when we crossed Cunningham’s Gap in the pouring rain. I might have also been crying as crossing the Gap in really bad storms scares the shit out of me. I was probably imagining a great big landslide and going down the hill in a deadly big river of lethal mud and being lost forever. I also felt bad because I had gotten angry at Archie and Rissie. But I had gotten angry at them for a reason. That reason was not going to go away until I explained it to them later in the drive. Which I did when they woke up somewhere between Warwick and Tenterfield.
Being a parent is hard work and sometimes doing it on your own can be one of the loneliness jobs in the world. It is a job that feels like it has no end in sight. The rewards are of course countless and bountiful but sometimes it just feels like a job that never ends. I would love to be Archie and Rissie’s friend, but first and foremost I am their mum. As their mum it is my job to be tough when I have to be and angry when I need to be. And at times that can really suck.
Anyway, by the time we woke up this morning it was all back to normal. Archie and Rissie were back in my world of rainbows and unicorns. They bounced out of bed, got ready really quickly, raced outside to Kevin & Rosie and pretended it was a beautiful morning even though it was pitch black and felt like it was about minus 5 degrees with the unseasonal westerlies. I love them I do. They are my world. Just sometimes parenting is just bloody hard work.
I had a Noodle Soup on Saturday night that was devoid of flavour. So I had to make this soup tonight. I have not had Soba Noodles for well over a year. Such a scrummy and easy dinner. A treat when you are needing to spoil yourself a little.
Yum, yum, yum, yum.
Vegetable Ramen Soup
2 cups of Vegetable Stock
Knob of Ginger peeled and thinly sliced
1 stalk of Lemon Grass roughly sliced in 2 cm pieces
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
2 x Boy Choy vertically sliced in half
2 x Yellow Button Squash
5 x Large Mushrooms sliced
1/2 of pack Ramen Noodles
Handful of coriander
Heat vegetable stock with ginger and lemon grass and simmer.
Mix Sauce and add 01 tablespoon at a time to the soup and taste after each addition until seasoned to your liking.
Bring a small pot of water to the boil for the Ramen Noodles.
Add to water and at same time add the vegetables to the soup. Simmer.
Ramen Noodles will take about 3 minutes. Drain and place in bowl.
Then put vegetables on top of noodles and add the soup.