A taste from my childhood

I've eaten all kinds of bread
from bakeries and such

melted butter on toast 
cut off the crusts
I've tried Molenberg,
Freya's, Burgen
blah blah the rest 
and have come to the conclusion 
VOGEL's is best

What makes a good mother?
 What chu lookin at me fer?  I don't have a clue.

 I've never met a great mother who thought she was a  one.  In fact I found that most mothers who think they are GREAT aren't, in any one else's opinion - but then, who gives a flying f*ck about other peoples opinions.  No one knows how much many revving chainsaws they've been juggling, do they.

I think, and this is just my opinion after 30 something years of being a parent (lots more than thirty *cough cough*) Mother's and Father's have different functions.
Mothers say, "Get outta down off that tree before you kill yourself."
Fathers say,  "I'm sure you can get higher than that? What's the matter with ya?"

So does that mean Mothers give you boundaries and fathers encourage you to push at them...yes I think it does, in my opinion.  Although I have met fathers who are way more fearful than mothers, and mothers who are simply too tired to give a f*ck about some kid hanging by one hand, up the top of an apple tree.
I think I was one of those mothers.
 Not in the beginning.  Oh NO NO NO NO...in the beginning I wanted to be the best, most protective, most brilliant and successful mother in the entire universe, because I lost the first chance I had at it, when I lost my daughter.  (not going through that story here) 
But then, as it always does, reality tore me a new one. (American phrase, love it)


I loved my eldest son so much that when he was a baby I stared at him all the time -  literally ALL THE TIME.
 He slept about seven inches away from me as his bassinette was shoved up against my side of the bed.  I carried him around in a papoose thing, in my hand, like a handbag as I was too scared to put him in a carrier, back or front, in case I, the notorious bumble footed ape, fell over and squashed him and him, being in a stroller, was too far away.  
I don't think I slept for the first two years of his life.  I just stared at him, and listened to him, making sure he was breathing.  I found him the most glorious and beautiful creature in the entire universe and he was, he still is in fact.  I hated and I mean HATED being away from him EVER....


When Nathan was 2 I had a little girl.  It wasn't an ordinary birth, for a start she was born two weeks early, on labour day, in the hallway of a very crowded maternity ward, and delivered by her father.
 I was stoned off my tree at the time as I think the nurses kept forgetting they'd given me drugs and gave me more.  It was a painless birth, so painless it felt strangely as if it hadn't happened.
 There was the baby, gorgeous and tiny, looking just like her Dad, Calvin, who had caught her like a softball back stop.  But there was no pain and that was...really weird.
I don't know if there being no pain had anything to do with anything but something happened when she was born, I don't know what, but two weeks after it happened I slid straight into a full blown, kick me in the arse, throw me on the ground, post-natal depression and I didn't know.  

Honestly, if you want to know what its like I can't tell you because I literally can't remember it, in fact I can't remember an entire year of my life.  I see photos of it, Jenna-Rose being a baby but I wasn't there.  I don't know where the fuck I was.
This postnatal depressions stuff wasn't actually diagnosed until years and years later when I had the mother of all Manic episodes.  1998, that was when the Brain Doctor, an american by the way, I say that because for some reason it is very significant, asked me about my life.  
He worked out, after hundreds of questions, that I had some form of PTSD which manifested itself in bouts of Mania and then Depression.  He said that it all started pre-verbally.  Basically when I was a baby and didnt really know what was going on.  Then, this was all blown the hell into a THING of gigantic proportions by having a car accident when I was 7 which mashed part of my brain, then being in hospital for a long arse period of time, where I became absolutely terrified of sleeping.

Anyway,BACK TO THE POINT -  a year after my daughter was born, when I came back into myself I had changed.  

I was tired, and I am still tired, except for rare occurrences of Mania when I could probably run a marathon, solve string theory and french polish the entire house in one afternoon if I wanted too. (I don't have Manic episodes anymore, I have gone to the edge of one a few times, but then my sane self has jumped in front of me, like a mate pushing me out of the way of an oncoming train and said "un nuh take a sleeping pill") 

Anyway motherhood had changed too, I was informed that I had to get a job, pronto, I had to work to put food on the table and do something worthwhile with my life, as everyone around me told me, so I had to leave my kids with other people and go work.

I am going to tell you something right now that every feminist is gonna get her undies in a bunch about and I don't give a f*ck.  (Yeah I swear a lot, read my books if you want to know how much)  Everybody and I mean EVERYBODY WHO TOLD ME THIS WAS WRONG!!!  I should never have gone to work.  I'm not speaking for "Women" who work I am only speaking for ME.

I was shit at everything I tried to do apart from being a mother.  

I had jobs that I didn't even know what the f*ck I was doing.  I am barely literate when it comes to filling in forms and applications (Ask my husband)  and they put ME in charge of helping people with THAT.  
I got into trouble so many times for shit I didn't even know I was doing wrong it was ridiculous.  I'd love to see the size of my file at Internal Affairs, it probably looked like a pregnant Guinness book of world records.  I honestly never knew what I was supposed to be doing.  
Yes I had moments of Genius but they were accompanied by my mate, my buddy, my f*cking arsehole companion, Manic Depression.

I should never have done it, I should have told everyone to f*ck off, we can live on rice and sausages and I should have stayed at home with my babies.  

It is my BIGGEST and most painful regret, that I still regret, even now that everyone is outta the house except my baby who is about to be, is that I listened to people who had NO FUCKING CLUE what they were talking about and I feel guilty about it.  So so so soooooooooooooooo guilty.  

Bathing in guilt.  
Drowning in guilt.  
Basting myself in the oven of guilt.

Which is dumb,  I KNOW THAT,  I do, but I still regret it, every single day over a decision I made thirty two years ago.

But I made that decision, it wasn't forced on me, it was given to me with no options offered.  I should have created options.  I should have thought about it more.  
I shoulda woulda coulda.
Now I write about woman who have the same choices, same battles and same guilt, but this time, I can change the outcome or find out, in the storytelling, that there were no other outcomes available.


The truth is NOWADAYS there is no decision to be made about this now because very VERY few women who can have this as a choice, and if they make that choice they are vilified.  There is no way in f*ckland that a family can survive on one income NOWADAYS and be healthy, have aspirations and have children who have all the advantages they should.  NO WAY.  
I know this, because right now, we are struggling on one income and it is a very good income.  Probably they equivalent of two incomes.  Way more than minimum wage.  
NOWADAYS if you make the decision to stay home with your kids, you don't have a partner and you don't have a whanau to help support you,  you are in for the struggle of your life.  

I still would have stayed home, if I had the choice.  I would have been a sitcom mother hahaha and I would have written and I would have waited at home for my kids with milk and cookies and sent them off to school with nutritionally constructed lunches, and make wholesome nourishing meals on the $1.50 budgeted for them.  
But that never happened because I was continuously tired.

A lot of life ran under the bridge and then I had my youngest child, Tamati Hoani Te Rangi Kangaiho Thornton VI, and there is a whole other approach and a whole different other story.


The kids, well they turned out okay, they're all brilliant, they don't smell and they can cook. 
So what makes a good mother?  F*ck knows.  
Being in a constant state of doubt and guilt maybe?
 I dunno.  
but in the immortal words of the Vogels advert..

It was a year ago alright Michael let it go."