Space Travel Under Duress

So before I became a parent…., I was about to write “I thought….” and then continue to list the qualities you’d imagine Super Mum to have. Point is though, I never imagined myself as a parent before I became one so I simply didn’t have any preconceived ideas around what sort of mum I’d be. It’s funny in itself that I was one of the first in my group of friends to have a baby because I was probably the least likely. So the truth is I didn’t have any idea whatsoever of what sort of mother I would be – it just wasn’t ever something I ever pictured, so how that would all turn out was still a huge unknown even as Bambino was placed on my chest and our eyes met for the first time. I also didn’t picture myself as a drunk, but there we are. There will plenty of time for me to discuss that aspect too, but for now, let’s stick with parenthood only.

I can’t remember who said it, or perhaps I read it somewhere, that kids who play with dolls become good parents. That’s fucking bad news right there. Oh, I did have a doll. Her name was Lillan. My childhood friend Mattias and I used to throw her down the stairs and lock her in the hamster cage, where two hostile gold hamsters would munch on her toes. My super girlie mother – who loves all things pink and sparkly – tried in vain to buy me Barbie dolls. I cut their hair and limbs off. I just wasn’t that girl. I remember just not getting it, not understanding HOW you played with dolls. Change their outfit, then what? All my friends in our neighbourhood were boys and I spent my days in the woods, riding my bike, playing cowboys and indians. Guns = cool, dolls = waste of time. I don’t think the toys we play with or how much we adhere to traditional gender roles play much part in how we turn out as parents, but the idea that how we cared for dolls would be some sort of indication would strongly suggest I’d make a right mess of it. No, I don’t believe only kids who know how to play with dolls grow up to be excellent parents but given how badly Lillan fared in Little Me’s care, I thought it was an amusing thought. Or terrifying, I dunno.

Actually, isn’t there also some saying about keeping a plant alive? Can’t remember how it goes or if it’s in any way related to your future success rate at child rearing. I don’t have a good history with plants and recently a plant a neighbour gave me met its untimely demise. Apparently it was meant to be “hard to kill” but died surprisingly quickly despite my valiant attempts at following watering instructions and where to place it in terms of ideal light etc. Ho-hum.

Despite all these ominous signs, I consider myself a perfectly OK mother – not perfect and not amazing but I do OK. Sober, I even have the ability to sometimes be great at it. Or, rather, the best mum I can be even though I highly doubt I’ll ever win any parenting awards. I love Bambino more than anything, like any normal parent loves their child, and I do my best. Sober, I do my best with the best set of tools available to me.

Because Bambino messed up last weekend, he is grounded until 2019. All screens confiscated and the afternoons consist of homework and reading. Oh, and spending time together a lot more given I have replaced his Playstation as his entertainment. Bambino is working hard on being good and regaining trust and to his mind this will hopefully mean sanctions may cease a little sooner. Bambino be wrong, y’all. Bambino be very wrong. Mummy is thoroughly enjoying this new routine and after just a few days I’ve come to really treasure those two hours in the afternoon when Bambino and I share the dining table with him doing homework at one end and me hammering silver jewellery at the other. For me, this is a highlight and one I look forward to. And that’s not all! Hubby is once again off with work, this time to Hong Kong for a week, and normally this means I sulk the whole time he is away. Yes, there is a fair amount of sulking and I am dreading how empty our bed will be when he’s not there and how badly I always sleep when we’re not cuddled up. I also NEED my best friend around so I always feel lost when he isn’t, but here’s the new thing: my other little best friend IS around and this weekend he won’t be out with his mates and nor will he have mates over.

Now, the reason for Bambino spending the remainder of 2018 grounded and without screen time is a real shitter, but true to form I am willing to shamelessly reap the rewards and it does come with huge benefits. The most glorious one of all is of course all this additional time I now get with Bambino – it might be something to suffer through for Bambino himself but for me it’s freaking jackpot! I need to be treading carefully because I can’t go and make it too much fun – the whole point is that this should fucking STING – but there’s nothing wrong with this mama secretly relishing lots of quality time with her cub, right? I’m googling “best boardgames for two players” and also planning where to go and get a Christmas tree and also where to take Bambino so he can get Christmas gifts for his stepbrothers. Doubt I have to worry though, because I already know all of the above spells out shit storm in his world. After all, a few months ago he quite literally rolled around on the floor crying with laughter at my suggestion he and I head to Thorpe Park.

Or is he secretly delighted to spend time with me too?

I would have liked that as the end to this blog post. A cute and hopeful little question. It’s not like that though. He’s a teenager, for crying out loud! Obviously he’d much rather hang out with his friends than go out with me, and obviously he’d much rather be on Playstation with friends than play board games with his mother. It’d probably be weird if it was the other way around, no? So I probably don’t need to worry about this period of punishment getting “too fun” as it just won’t be his definition of anything even resembling fun. But whether he likes it or not, I think it will do us both lots of good to spend a lot of time together. Just the other evening when I got back from a run, Bambino had taken my spot on the sofa including my sofa cushion – aka hubby, whose lap I always have my legs across. They both glanced up at me when I got back, then the next second continued their stupid action movie and I was relegated to the comfy chair I don’t like. They used to be like this quite often, hubby and Bambino. They also used to have a “man chat” every evening – hubby would lie down with Bambino for a while and they’d chat about “stuff” for a while before Bambino went to sleep. With a teenager all of this changes, which I assume is pretty normal, but it’s nice to get a little glimpse of it again.

Cherokee is planning a trip with her eldest, also a teenage boy, and I found myself wanting to tell Bambino this in a whiny voice – “but [C’s son] is excited about going to London with Cherokee, why don’t you get excited about spending time with meeeee” – but stopped myself. Envious, much? Oh yeah, I am. When she told me I spent a short moment trying to work if there is any destination in the world that Bambino would consider so cool he’d agree to go there even if it meant he’d be going with me. So I’m saving up for space travel.

Well. The little bugger is grounded and bored and I’m just going to enjoy getting time with him even if it is with him under duress. Who cares – I win!

And just to keep this focused on what this blog was always for – sobriety and recovery – trust me when I say it makes me so incredibly happy and grateful to be given all these moments I get to enjoy to the max. No beast pulling me away or distracting me, no rushing through anything to get to my drink, no missing out on moments because I was busy getting hammered or too hungover to appreciate them. Just getting to be right in each moment and be present 100%.

Today I’m not going to drink.

3 thoughts on “Space Travel Under Duress

  1. What a truly lovely and genuine post. I do love the way you write …. pleeeeeeSe write a book! I’ll buy it! I took my boys to New York when they were about your son’s age. They thought it was MEGA! Uber cool, fabulous pancakes and loads of stuff to do and see. Besides, we’re supposed to be moving there in June, so you can come and visit us! I do think that 14 is a lovely age … you can have proper conversations with them and yet, they can still (as long as their friends aren’t around) be very sweet and cuddly. Boys are the absolute best.
    Ps I used to have a doll and an Action Man with loads of guns … he used to shoot her rather a lot, but she never appeared to die. 😬😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Without kids I’m not qualified for commenting one this 😀 BUT I have no hesitation in saying that you my friend are an awesome Mum. I reckon it’s actually really special that something so upsetting as turned into a positive experience for you all. I also find myself wondering if Bambino is actually enjoying this and who knows some new habits might form out of it all and you do all spend more time as a family unit.

    Liked by 1 person

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