12 Nov

When I Compare Myself to you…

Each week the Lord teaches me a lesson. Sometimes the lesson runs for weeks, sometimes it’s a short 2 -day course.

This week’s lesson started  when I came across a statistic that said 67% of Americans are blue collar workers as opposed to 10% of T.V characters. This means  about 90% of T.V characters depict people who are well heeled. While it’s nice to see so many of your favourite characters doing well in er.. T.V land, the problem is that it creates a false reality. Lucky for you if you live in the UK, you won’t have that false-reality issue. Have you seen EastEnders?  They go out of their way here to make sure the homes are run down, characters are in dire-straits and only ever wear grey jogging bottoms and puffer jackets. They live half their lives in smoke-filled pubs, gossiping or whining about their lives in the doldrums. It would appear the plot is thoughtfully woven to stop you from aspiring to be anything beyond working as a security guard at your local supermarket. Compare that to Desperate Housewives, or Dallas where the characters drive nice cars and live in suburban golf communities. They are NEVER without make up; blink and you’ll miss the slight glimmer of lip gloss even as they roll out of bed. They stop for a quick chat and tall latte at gourmet coffee houses,  opening  tiny sachets of sweet ‘n’ low and pouring in the contents ever so slowly with French -manicured nails. Oh, and they only stopped for coffee on their way to the nail bar. The bottom line of the research is (American) television makes people unhappy as they compare themselves to the characters and constantly fall short. I don’t know if the Brits have conducted a similar research but we all know what the result will be. A happy bunch of people. Theoretically.

I guess that triggered a series of observations for me. I discovered that I compare myself unfavourably to others a lot. The most obvious is found in my mothering skills. These are just some of my observations as to what some mothers have done that Toks did not do:

Post first day pictures of their little one with child holding up a large postcard complete with dates, etc.  At least I did take a picture, it’s buried somewhere on my phone providing #4 hasn’t deleted it.

Organise a coffee morning- we see each other every morning and afternoon, there aren’t enough hours between school opening and closing time. Never even crossed my mind!

Ask if anyone else has successfully logged into the new homework monitoring system – didn’t know there was one.

Ask how to make Mr Fox’s tail curl upwards for the upcoming Road Dahl book day- blank stare.

Keeping fit- close to half of the yummy mummies come kitted out in designer, sometimes matching sportswear complete with water bottles and heart-rate monitors. They jog home. I jog to the car. They are a wonderful group of ladies, glad to have them in my life!

I stumbled across a movie on T.V. The scene I had the patience to watch featured three siblings plotting to get their separated parents back together. These young kids discussed. They were well dressed. They ate cookies (which did not crumble unto the vacuumed carpet) and didn’t squabble and scream the words that mine do; ”that was my cookie! I had it fir-ir-irsttt ahhhhh!”

Besides life as a mum, I compare myself to other women in business. I had mixed feelings as I watched another mumpreneur grow her seedling to seemingly huge heights. We started our businesses in the same year, but she has rocketed and I feel like I’ve been left behind. That was until someone told me that things were not what it looked like. For starters she had a multi-millionaire for a husband and worked on her business for 4 years before she actually launched it. I haven’t complained since.

With all of this palaver I need to start a new blog. Pawpaw & Mango remains my first love but an additional one is needed. When I applied to add my business blog a certain organisation to join their network of bloggers, I was turned down on the basis that my business blog was of a commercial nature, promoting a business. They were right. So I was advised to start one that was non-commercial where I could promote my business ‘occasionally’, this was at the start of 2012. The reason I have held back is because I felt doing so will be denying who I truly am. I do love to drop the occasional pidgin or ebonics in my writing but  in the midst of bloggers like Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, and The Quick Brown Fox of Hampstead Heath , I’d stick out like a sore thumb. I am also not too keen on using the word ‘one‘ excessively in place of ‘I’, because one does not really speak like that. There’ll be no talk of eba and banga soup, or NEPA or Kumasi market. You get the picture. So I need an appropriate name for this new blog, I would greatly appreciate your input for a catchy, creative  one please.  Bear in mind I’ll be blogging along with others who go by names such as ‘down the laundry hole’ and other sweet sounding Enid Blyton-type names. While I am trying hard to be authentic and be me, I have to learn how to blog like these ladies do, is that comparing myself?

So this evening I came across an angry tweet conversation started by one of such bloggers and visited her page to see what the furore was all about. I discovered the playing field wasn’t as daunting as I thought. There are some writers I would not compare myself to, some do have a fine way with words. But the exclusive  network of bloggers isn’t really what I imagined. There was bickering, arguing, insecurities, grammatical errors you name it, she was there. They were being themselves.

Comparing myself to them certainly worked well in my favour, just for today.

So what should we name the blog?

06 Sep

The Toddler Insists on Growing Up. I Refuse to Let Him.

My little Josh started school an hour ago. its not like he hasn’t been to ‘school’ before, after all he was in pre-school. Does that count? No? Ok.

He looked so cute, determined and excited as I dropped him off, wondering if his school will take me in as a substitute teacher for one day only.

The day started with me waking him up and asking if he remembers what he’ll be doing today.

He answered;  ‘sleeping. I want to sleep some more‘ and he promptly nodded off to sleep again.
Finally we get him all dressed with me fussing over him the whole time. I ask if he is excited about school, he replies quizzically,

‘Why?’

You see this child has inherited his some father’s cynicism and I keep forgetting that. It wasn’t like this with my sweet son #3, he cuddled me and shared the same emotions I had- which went from extreme calm to anxiety nervosa.

We try to take some pictures. He keeps jumping off right before the flash goes thereby rendering my resolve rewrite history, useless. I  need to have every memory recorded because now I know I’ll forget like I’ve forgotten a lot that happened with his brothers.

On our way to school I tell him how proud I am of him.  Again he asks why, this time with a real desire to know. I explain that he is such a good, clever and handsome boy. I tell him how proud I am to be his mama. At this he smiles his charming smile. I push back the tears I feel welling up.

When we arrive he runs ahead happily, promptly stops and asks me to pick him up, he is tired of running. I worry that this carrying thing won’t last for long. I stop worrying and choose to enjoy the moment instead.

We arrive and go to meet his teachers, they are warm, friendly and appear to like my Josh already. I notice that I’ve managed to smear his white shirt with my make-up. I don’t care, I hope my love and my smell got smeared on too and will remain with him until I pick him up at 3:20pm.

While we wait in the presence of other mummies, many of them visibly nervous, I ask him if he’ll make new friends.

‘Yes mum, and if anyone punches me I punch them right back’.

‘ Punch them right back’  is accompanied by a forceful swing with his fist, I think it’s called the uppercut in boxing.

I watch my potential rep as a perfect mum disappear quietly down the proverbial drain. You know how there’s always one mum who annoyingly stands out from the rest of us as perfect. She is NEVER late for the school run. When you’re late she just has to ask;

‘Did you over-sleep?’

You reply defensively but with just the right amount of dignity;

‘No I didn’t, but I had to scrape the ice from my windscreen’

She replies in a sing-song, high-pitched voice;

‘You should have allowed time for that!’ Her response is finished off with a small laugh and a cursory wave of her left hand. Not just a laugh, but the laugh that is er…’at you’.

She buys mainly organic veggies from the grocery store and plants her own herbs and tomatoes. Oh and she makes her own ice-cream in the summer. She has on brown cords, knee-high boots and a tweed blazer over her cream coloured, floral top.

Sorry I digress, another post.

I sprint back to the car, partly for exercise (still trying to get past 3 mins of exercise daily. The plan was to start small and build it up. The problem is not the starting.  Another blog post, another time.) I remember the last time I sprinted to the car after dropping of a certain son on his first day. I was sprinting from a myriad of emotions, glee, liberation, thankfulness. I didnt want to waste a second of my new-found freedom. That child shall of course remain nameless.

My advice to mums who have found themselves an emotional wreck on first day at school? Remember that a new experience prepares them for all things life has to offer. They’ll enjoy the exhilaration of new friends, new routines and new toys. It works for me every time. Except today.

Off I go to vent those tears, they’re becoming rather annoying!