Thursday, October 16, 2008

Time Flies...

When you’re having fun doesn’t it? It also seems to fly when you’re juggling your children, the laundry, the housework, the grocery shop, the swim class, the soccer tournament, the doctor’s appointment, the school run, paying the bills, shopping for birthday gifts, the mom & tot class, the meetings with the builders and the weekend away.

For, I see that since I’ve been blogging, this is the longest I’ve gone between posts. A whole nine days. It’s been so busy in Mom/Mum land that I’ve not had five minutes to check in with my blog, let alone read all my favourite blogs. Sorry!

I did carve out time to write a little something for Tara over at From Dawn Till Rusk after she kindly asked me to do a guest post on her fantastic blog. (Thank you Tara.) So if you want to read more of my ramblings, you’ll find me having a cuppa over at her place.

Most of the reason why I’ve been absent from t’internet has just been that we changed gears to a frenzy of activity in the normal hum-drum routine. But for three of those days, I’ve had a very good excuse for leaving you.

I left home. Without my children and without my husband. But I did have a little suitcase of clothes, a stash of gossipy magazines and a few bottles of wine.

Last weekend I had my annual spa weekend away with seven friends from my mom/mum’s group. You could barely see us for dust, as we all zoomed away from our families for a couple of days in a luxurious Mountain log cabin up in North Michigan.

Lots of bloggers have been writing about sunny autumn (fall) days and my four hour drive up to Boyne Mountain was no exception. The colour of the trees was breathtaking. The car was even nicer (my friend’s cream puff car – a VW convertible Beetle) and we went topless - it was a freakishly hot weekend.

Getting away from it all is a luxury I rarely afford. Something I truly miss from those LBC days (Life before Children) so the annual October trip up North has been something of a highlight in my calendar.

It’s not necessarily always exactly the same women that go each year, but there are a few of us who have become the regulars. And the newbies mix it up a bit - we need the new sex/dating stories.

For the main event of the weekend (apart from the half a day in the spa) seems to be the Saturday Night Sex Stories.

It makes me laugh how under normal ‘at home’ conditions we are almost prudish with each other’s personal lives. We don’t get too intimate with our tales and I’ve been known to struggle for something to say to some of these women. I mean it’s not like I’m going on a mini break with seven close girlfriends. There’s usually one very close friend of mine that goes too, but that leaves six others that I sit with at playgroups and book club, but I’d never normally confess to them where I lost my virginity.

Yet, once we’re back from our day spent being massaged and scrubbed and we put on our PJs and open up the wine, then all inhibitions vanish. The stories that come out could make even Jenna Jameson blush.

Don’t get me wrong, I love girly bonding moments like this. (Me and my bed-pal for the weekend stayed up past 2am chatting both nights like a pair of teenagers on a sleepover.) But I think there’s something remarkable about how some of these women barely speak to me the rest of the year, yet tell me the most intimate of stories when we’re stuck in the woods by a roaring fire.

We go by the unsaid rule of ‘What goes on up North, stays up North.’ We’d never bring up some of the things that are confessed whilst we’re chatting at the kids Halloween party, but I always wonder how much of what you reveal about yourself really changes a person’s perception of you?

This is some of what I learnt about my ‘roommates’ this weekend:

  1. One lady, a slim and attractive brunette I always thought was an exercise addict hence why she was so slim. Turns out it’s because she doesn’t eat. Except fruit and a little porridge.

  2. One used to date my sons pediatrician when he was in medical school. Although she confessed they never slept together, apparently he is “very big down there.” I will obviously never be able to go look this doctor in the eye again. Literally.

  3. One (who I always thought was nice but a bit holier than thou) was a right go-er during her high school and college days. I lost count of the number of drunken sex stories she told.

  4. One seduced her boss and now he’s her husband.

  5. One has a brother who’s sterile and has asked her husband to father his and his wife’s much longed for baby.

  6. One has time for sex three times a week with her husband (but no kissing on the mouth! Odd, yes?) and she has three kids and a home business to run. Lucky her. Lucky husband!

And there was more, but am still reeling at how much I’d misjudged some of these women. I thought I was a pretty perceptive judge of character. I think this is what happens when becoming friends with woman post childbirth. We are all a little guilty of forgetting that they too had a fun and carefree past before they swapped gears into family life. I am no prude and I’ll confess all after a few glasses of Merlot, but I was most shocked at how shocked I was.

Did I really think that because most of these women present an indefectible life where I can feel such an inadequate Mummy at times (not at all deliberately I must add) that they really were so flawless?

Hmmm. Not sure. Because even though I’ve been a Mummy longer in the land of Mommies than Mummies, I’m used to the UK parenting ways, i.e. seeing kids being screamed at for misbehaving in the street. It’s normal for my British friends and me to talk very openly about our low points along the path of parenthood. I feel no shame in confessing that sometimes shouting like a fishwife at the boys is what need to do to release that moment of tension and anger. But I have found with some American Moms that it’s all about the appearances. The pressure over here to maintain a calm and controlled façade at all time with your kids is suffocating. I mean it’s taken me nearly three years to confess to a US friend that I’ve raised my voice to my children.

Not that I’m tarnishing all Moms with the same brush. Please don’t think that. I’m just talking about the very small group I know.

So, to hear some of them to divulge such secrets of recklessness and capricious behaviour threw me off balance somewhat. But you know what, I’m glad they told those stories. It makes them more human, more vulnerable and means we’re all from the same playing field. It’s just how we play the game that differs.

Bet they scream at their kids too. But behind their closed doors eh?


  1. Hey, I just found you through Tara's blog! I like it here. I'm going to get comfy and stay awhile, K? :)

    I'm dying to know: have you found yourself talking with an American accent after 3 years here? Are you a reverse Madonna? :)

    The peditrican story is TOO funny. How much wine was flowing at that cabin?

  2. Hi Jaci - thanks so much for visiting and so pleased you like it here!
    no, I dont talk with an American accent, though I do begrudgingly say 'diaper' now instead of nappy!
    Wine flowing? I think we thought it was water!!!

  3. You're scaring me now - do American mommies really not shout at their kids in public? I can see myself consigned to social pariah status very quickly....

    Am v. jealous of your cabin - it looks divine.

  4. No kissing on the mouth and yet sex 3 times a week? Is it just me, or is that a bit weird?

  5. I to can shout like a fishwife lol..... as long as its not everyday, so that the odd times you do 'blow up' THEY KNOW YOU MEAN BUSINESS.... now mine are older they laff at some of me fishwife times..... I LOVE your blob.... being a Brit that would dearly love to move to the states you blob is a breath of fresh air :)


  6. Have to echo Mud's comment - no kissing on the mouth. Ugh - sounds like a prostitute. Very strange.
    And yes, I agree with the mom thing. Most of my friends look thrilled every time they see their kids and I would never dare moan to them, BUT a lot of their kids are friends of my children, and I get to hear what really goes on at home. Oh, ho, ho - don't be fooled by the facades is all I'm saying!

  7. Ooooh I’d love to be a fly on the wall at an event like this.

    Three time a week? That’s a typo, yes? You meant three times a year like the rest of us didn’t you?

    Yeah, what’s with the no kissing deal? It’s too horrible to imagine what else that poor chap might be denied.

    And Ugh! Never be able to look him in the eye again! You are a dreadful dreadful woman!

    Kelly’s eye, number 1.

    I had to laugh at LBC, I thought you were talking about the London Broadcasting Corporation.

    And And And your story on Tara’s blog was spanktastic! Loved it.

    See ya!

  8. dear valley girl - don't be scared. You'll soon get used to it. You can always talk to me about the REAL world of parenting when those facade mommies get you down. Because they will. But kniow this, like expatr mum says too. It IS all appearances only. They have the same parenting issues we do. They just pretend it's all OK...

    mitc - EXACTLY!!! I thought that too, but didn't like to draw attention to it at the time..

    marmite - ahh hello again. Thanks for coming back here! ftom one fishwife to another - your words are so kind. But beware what you wish for!

    ep - Hello. Yes I think it all sounds a bit too clinical for me.
    I dream of being thrilled everytime I see my kids!! haha. I will rejoice the day I hear one or two of my super-smiley mommy friends utter the sentence, "My kids drove me really mad today."

    Dave - hello. havent spoken to you in days! I will be popping over to your place for a catch up this weekend. LBC - haha!! That comment made me laugh. Plus thanks for the compliemnt about my blog at Tara's. V kind.
    And only you would take the 'eye' thing to that level!

  9. The no kissing on the mouth is very weird. I mean if they can be bothered to have sex three times a week but can't be bothered to kiss--it's a bit suspect.
    I find it interesting to hear of your perspective about mothers in the US and would love to hear more. I find that people in the UK don't really talk about their lives before their kids, just the regular superficial stuff for what seems like years and years before you get the good and saucy gossip out of them.

  10. I loved reading this post!

    My mum has always told me that it is better for a child to see the whole range of emotions as that is what life is all about. So, remembering this I don't feel too guilty about having to shout at my boys!

    LOL about the pediatrician -- can't wait to hear aobut your net visit with him!

  11. Looks gorgeous.
    Next time can I come and join in the naughty stories, sound hilarious.
    I think it still happens in the UK as well, where everyone is pretending to be perfect mummy, giving their children only corn fed, organic, food and secretly letting them eat bags of quavers at home. I blame Jamie Oliver and supernanny!!! EVERYONE loses it once in a while, most mums just try their best. Another great post Mrs...