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Mugs May 9, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in about me.
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Today, I’m going to write about mugs….yes, the ones we drink tea or coffee out of.  More precisely I am going to celebrate my success of this last year.

Seems confusing?  Well….maybe… So let’s start at the very beginning.

This time last year we were celebrating Mother’s Day as we’ll do tomorrow.  This time last year I had a 4  month old baby that I was still exclusively breastfeeding,  a toddler of 2 years 3 months, and a little girl of 3 years 8 months.  As you can well imagine I was not exactly a happy mother of 3 beautiful, perfect, little princesses, but an exhausted one.  We had had a very wet and cold winter and I didn’t leave the house at all except to take the baby to her medical appointments.  Can you imagine … 4 months blocked at home, busy all day and night with the kids?  Well I can.  I was there.

On last year’s Mother’s Day we travelled to Gozo, where my parents live, for the weekend.  It was probably our first visit there since the baby had been born.  At one point during the day, my man and the two older girls came up to me with a bright  blue shiny Upim bag (with the shop’s logo emblazoned on both sides).  I remember feeling rather curious about  what they could have gotten me from this shop.  As I slowly unwrapped the packets I found myself looking at 6 identical mugs.

“So what’s the big deal?” you might be saying.

The thing is that they were not like this

neither like this

nor like this.

But like this

And there’s wasn’t just one of them but six!

I remember feeling like crying at that moment.  I now know exactly the meaning of “my heart fell”.  Of all the mugs there were on the market I had to get the most ugly colour one can imagine.  For my little break from my ‘dreary’ life, I was going to have to look at the saddest colour of them all. I remember looking at the bag and thinking “I like the bag better than the mugs”.  And the bag is horrendous.

This time last year, if I had time to make myself a cuppa, it meant I had a little time for me.  It meant I was going to enjoy making and drinking my tea while it is still warm.  It meant that I was going to let myself be transported with my thoughts else where for a few moments.  In my ‘uneventuful’ and colourless life, this was my only moment of escape.  And I couldn’t bring my self even to put these mugs on the shelf with the others.  I hid them in a cupboard that I never open.

A couple of days later I finally brought myself to disclose this to my sister.  I was so very ashamed of my self.  I’m not one who can hide her feelings.   But this is the one time I hid them.  I was so ashamed of my feelings over half a dozen stupid mugs!  My sister fully understood what I was trying to say.  I remember feeling so relieved that someone understood me and didn’t think I was becoming neurotic.  She proved me this when a couple of days later she turned up with these.

Lovely, aren’t they?

And for a long time, they were the mugs I reached for, for my little, far-between quiet moments.

On re-reading the above, I realize I was either on the verge of some kind of depression or completely exhausted, this time last year.  This is not to say that this year I’m not exhausted, because I am.  But I’m definitely not depressed.  Since then, I brought the mugs out of their dark corner and have even shared this experience with my man.  I now use the mugs even purposely.  I have discovered their single, not-to-be-ignored, plus – they keep tea warm much longer!  For someone who needs to be doing one million other things while having breakfast, this is most definitely a plus for the mugs.

Pride and Prejudice March 23, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in Life with 3 princesses.
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TS was unwell yesterday.  So I let her monopolize me all morning… and in between her napping and occasional coughing bouts I watched the film Pride and prejudice with Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen that I had been postponing for a number of years!  But I can’t say I enjoyed it.  The Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth BBC version will remain my favorite. Probably the film is closer to how things looked in reality then but somehow I prefer the ‘cleaner’ more romanticized version of the mini series.

How much simpler life was then.  In reality, how much simpler life was not that many years ago.  I’m obviously referring to girls’ life expectations.  In terms of everything else, I believe life then was difficult without the whole plethora of machines and gadgets we have today to make tasks about the house easier.  But girls just had to get married, have babies, bring them up and marry them off.  Along the line they cleaned and cooked and shopped and were wives and of course got older (until they died).

Now it’s different.  Our new freedoms allow us to study and work, start off careers and buy property, travel and generally have more fun. We have choices thanks to the different movements that have fought to give women rights equal to those enjoyed by men.

My trail of thoughts today follows this freedom juxtaposed by the frustrations when circumstances limit it, when it feels that these freedoms and rights were won for others but not for me.

Choices are real when one can actually choose them.  If choices are not real options, they stop being choices and become myths.

Being a stay home mum is admired by some (usually by members of a generation or 2 or 3 older than me) and frowned upon by others (usually by my generation and 1 or 2 younger).  We the younger generations (i’m in may late 30s) seem to now be programmed in a way that makes a stay home mum seem like someone who has opted out, given up, ‘chickened’ out even.  We seem to believe we are superwomen and can do what that, that other women before us have failed to do or understand. So while we want to be proud parents (of 1 or maybe maximum 2, well spaced, also well-timed kids), but we also want/need to:

  • keep climbing the career ladder;
  • keep adding on to our academic achievements;
  • have perfect figures well dressed in the latest colours, trends, labels;
  • travel;
  • sport well-kept stylish hairstyles/hair colours;
  • be well read and up to date both with news that matters and trivia;
  • have healthy relationships with our partners;
  • keep old friendships, make new ones and  entertain  both sets ‘stylishly’ and regularly; 

And on and on I could go. Lest we be seen as not quite, je ne sais quoi. 

Caught in between the prejudices of my family, friends and acquaintances as well as my own preconceived ideas of wife-cum-stay home mom, I often feel not quite here and not quite there.  I know the princesses will soon grow and I will be able to have a full-time job again but in the mean time I feel so caught in a time warp.

Let me explain: Last May, when TS was 4 months old, I left the house quickly to get milk from my corner convenient store, conveniently situated 50m from front door.  I was wearing one of my tracksuits, my hair held in place with my sunglasses. The lady behind me in the queue kept trying to get TS to smile to her.  When I acknowledged her asked me if I was the grandmother or the mother of the baby. I was too taken aback to answer… just mumbled something like “I’m in hurry” and came home and had a good cry. After which I asked my man to take the afternoon off and booked myself an appointment at my favourite hair salon for that same afternoon. 

This incident comes to mind very very often.  I know that technically I can be TS’s grandmother but I most definitely don’t want to look like my kids’ grandmother!

Since then, because the princesses are older (anyway a little more manageable), because I took to listening more to my older Italian friend whom I’d like to look/be/behave like when I’m older and because of something else that for now I’m keeping as my secret, I’m taking more care of what I put on and what I look like when I walk out of the door.  And mainly, I’m doing this because it generally makes me feel so much better.  I don’t go anywhere much. During the day my outings are to the supermarket, to pick up the kids (apart from the occasional coffee with my journalist friend) and sometimes the playing fields but I still take time to dress up.  Somehow I walk taller when I’m not in tracksuits and running shoes. 

Now the other stay home moms at the school gate are starting to ask me if  I’m working again or if I’ve been out during the morning just because I turn up in black pants, a nice top and lipstick!