My daughter runs to me when I pick her up from preschool
35 degrees Celsius, a stinker of a day
And she is in a hoodie
They have stayed inside all day with the aircon blasting
All those cloth nappies as a solo parent
Two years worth
To save her planet
But now I buy her single wrapped plastic cheese for the convenience
The summer hoodie is my doing too
Hanging preschooler sized pants on the line
On a sunshiney lockdown day
The postie bike stops at my gate
Through he comes with two big packages
“I’ll just put these here”
They sit by the door
As I continue my dance with the endless laundry cycle
I pick them up on my way inside
One, a bundle of online fast fashion for the teen
The other addressed to me
Flat, registered, with stiff cardboard inside
My graduation certificate and testamur
Just like that
Ten years of isolated online toil
Solo parenting, working so many jobs
My Masters degree has been conferred in hi-vis
From the other side of the laundry basket
Not a mortarboard in sight
But what beautiful weather for Graduation Day!
It was years ago now
Sitting in a privacy cubicle in the parents’ room in the middle of a shopping centre
Playschool on the tele on the other side of them
Seeking some rest before attempting
The epic effort of loading the car with baby and self
Back to the place of endless labour
and insufficient sleep
Feeling a little self pity
At my lot
As a single mother
not by choice
And a voice
From the next cubicle
Where two local mums had been talking
Cuts through my ruminations
“Babydaddy’s a useless C##T anyway
All he ever does is
F**k putrid hoes.”
Yes, I remember that.
It’s so totally ok
That I’m tired
It’s a massive job
Being a human
It’s a massive job
Being a parent
To small humans
The world is in utter turmoil
So much doesn’t make sense
Our innately, exquisitely intelligent children can see this so clearly
And they know
They know how to pull us back to the truth of our reality
They know how to pause in wonder at
birdsong, starlight, new fungi
They know how to play
They know how to feel
They know how to take their sweet time
What they don’t know
is how fucking uncomfortable it is
to be stretched across the chasm of their knowing of what’s real
and our adult bondage to
the bullshit reality of late-stage capitalism
It’s so totally ok that I’m tired
Sometimes a crow in the distance sounds like a child in another room calling out “Mum!”
Sitting with the selectively obedient schnoodle on the hillside grass of the vacant block in our suburb
Meditating at the pre-schooler’s suggestion
She shouts to the passing cars
“We’re having PEACE!”
How is it that I ever manage to write anything at all
Or even have a thought to myself
For that matter
Word clusters determined by the roll of a dice.
The household toddler has had a visit from gastro this week. That meant being woken every two hours for two nights in a row by a fevering child, living in a blur of repetition of toilet checking, bottom wiping, hand washing, administering water and offering dry foods, and surrendering to dropping all plans. It has meant losing wages whilst still paying for unused daycare, and having the tv on way more than usual.
On the back of all this, yesterday I sat 2 adult naplan exams, complete with overcoming the stress of the power point not charging my lap top, my mouse stopping working, and the remote proctor not being able to access my camera, resulting in a 45 minute delay to my exam start time. Somehow managed to get a delicious evening meal on the table, and little one is on the mend today.
Yet the biggest challenge for me was helping her to put on the tiny gardening gloves that she was insisting on wearing for our walk this morning.
She also brought a cushion “in case I fall over”.
So of course one block into our walk, I’m carrying a pair of gloves rolled up, a cushion, a hand full of lillipillis, a few flowers, a bagged dog poo, and the lead of our 40kg old man. All in one hand to keep the other hand free to hold hands with little to cross the road.
A young woman jogging freely in the other direction with both hands free and ponytail swinging, smiled at us.
I thought, maybe she looks at us and wishes she could have this moment.
I am having this moment. This is what life has given me right now. What a joy.
Am I the one for whom you exist?
No caffeine from you will pass through my tits
For wakefulness you shan’t be blamed
Nay, nor thanked…
You’re a bit like chocolate incense- nostalgically reminiscent of the real deal, but not a spot hitter by any stretch
Breast is best breast is best
yes yes yes
I absolutely get behind the list of benefits
I challenge anyone to forego BOTH sleep AND coffee, then tell me “breastmilk is free”.