Failing motherhood and a penis in the meat department.

January 31, 2014
So sweet and innocent looking....

So sweet and innocent looking….

Sometimes I see these beautifully compliant children standing nicely beside their parents at the supermarket and I wonder if they’ve been doped.

Their parent is often casually blipping their groceries through the self-service check out, taking their time as though they’re not harbouring a child-sized time bomb in their trolley, and these lovely children are waiting patiently, maybe they’re even helping and smiling and chatting cutely.

My kids don’t do that.

Ever, that I can recall.

I guess it may have happened once or twice but the other mortifying experiences are burnt into my brain.

Sometimes I see child in a cafe and they sit nicely on their butts and drink their drinks happily without blowing bubbles, spilling it, digging their hands in it, or fighting over whose glass is whose. They dexterously dip their chip into a little tomato sauce and politely eat it.

My kids don’t do that either.

Recently in the supermarket my two were screaming at each other in the meat department.

They were loud. Really loud.

Not having an argument per se, more like screaming like two cavemen over the final dinosaur drumstick before the apocalypse set in and everyone died horrible deaths from acid rain and starvation. Know what I mean?

Using my public mothering voice I asked them to please be quiet as the other customers did not want to hear their screams, growls or blood curdling war cries.

 D Man was laughing manically between screams, tormenting his sister who was trapped in the pram, darting out of her reach before she could tear a clump of hair from his scalp, and Kiki was busting it up a notch from Feral to Foul.

I asked firmly for it to end.


I whisper-growled with the quiet death tone for them to stop.


There was a grey-haired, bespectacled lady perusing the lamb cutlets who was trying to pretend we did not exist. Fair play. I could seriously have walked out and left them there, hopping a cab to the airport and diving onto a plane to Puerto Rico.

When the final screech made my ears bleed I hissed at D Man to quit it and he proceeded to pull down his pants and waggle his penis at the pork cutlets.

Madame Grey Hair could no longer resist and she gave me a withering glare coupled with a tut.

Little terrors

Little terrors

‘I know, they’re foul and should never be allowed out. Their mother should be ashamed.’ I said in complete exasperation.

Lately I feel whenever I ask them to do anything they do the exact opposite. Even if it endangers them ; running on the road, wildly swinging sticks or sporting equipment, or just slapping each other upside UFC style.

Trying to get D Man to get dressed is unbelievable.

I ask him politely 10 times to get dressed and it’s not until I lose my shit, threaten violence and walk half way out to the car that he takes any notice….. and don’t get me started on bedtime.

Or teeth cleaning.




Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m failing motherhood.

I regularly lose library books, children’s socks and my cool.

I always forget the nappy bag, and 9 out of 10 times it doesn’t matter, but that other time?? Yep, at the mercy of kind strangers in the midst of a poonami.

I thought I’d be a Madonna-esque mother. Not pointy bra and crotch grabbing Madonna, but more like a gently smiling, blue swathed virgin, without the virgin bit.

I doubt Joseph ever walked in from a day hammering wooden nails and Mary thrust a whining, squalling, grubby faced Jesus in his hands as she hissed was going for a run before she killed someone.

I also doubt her sandals would have coped well cross-country.

There’s definitely a couple of minutes a day where they’re delightful, sometimes it’s even at the same time as each other. I love them dearly, don’t get me wrong, but I am struggling.

I’m not afraid to admit it to you for a few reasons.

One is that you’ve already seen my many lumps and bumps both literal and figurative, but also because if I’m struggling then surely, amongst all of those with it, onto it, composed, groomed mothers, there’s a couple of stragglers limping through to bed time daily wondering when the relentlessness will ease.

Since I started writing this I’ve had a mega breakthrough with D Man by taking away TV privileges. Do something the first time I ask, or that’s it for the day.

It’s working!!

One small win for Mama Bear and I feel like I can cope for another week.

It’s all about the little victories when the battle seems never ending, innit?

Me. All. Over.

Me. All. Over.

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  • Reply mymidlifemayhem January 31, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. It’s all just a massive test by the devil to make you a stronger person. I hate sanctions but they seem to work even with teenagers.

  • Reply Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth January 31, 2014 at 7:53 am

    Often I have wondered whether a mother is responsible for a child’s misbehavior or whether it is the just the child’s nature. I think now it is in the nature of the child. That is to say I’m sure you have sweet, wonderful, intelligent, if slightly rambunctious children but don’t ever think you are failing motherhood. If it makes you feel any better, my mother had a similar problem…:^)Also, congrats on those small victories!

  • Reply Zanni Louise January 31, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Oh hon. You aren’t failing at all! Kids are kids…and they come in all shapes and sizes. You are lively – and guess what, so are they! I am sure there are many mothers out there who relate to this post exactly.

    I have days when I feel like a sinking ship. But like you say, hang on to the victories. xx

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys January 31, 2014 at 9:04 am

      I’ve never downed trou in the meat dept!!! Thanks Zan. I think it’s important to let everyone know we’re all in the trenches together, you know. You are very lovely, my friend. Want to borrow some lively children? 😉

      Sent from my iPhone


  • Reply San January 31, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Hey Girlfriend,
    Just a juicy bit of useless information :o) In the Philippines they refer to children who are going thru the
    “difficult” stage as bungets. ie; A child to want something it can’t have, get angry, and then refuse it when it is offered (gggrrrrrrrrrr) I wonder if this an abbreviation of “bunget on!!” I’ve also heard these lil’ darlings referred to as “dragglings”! ie; despite their best intentions, they’re a long way from being independent.
    You’re a gorgeous, beautiful, tolerant, incredible mother. We know that through your writings and also from an EXTREMELY reliable source. You’re doing brilliantly hunny :o)

  • Reply ksbeth January 31, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    i’ve used the death growl many times with my girls as they were growing up, all to no avail. i really learned by doing, what no to do. it was all a bit of a stab in the dark for me. somehow we all lived to tell and they are now grown with little ones of their own, and i just laugh as they begin to understand……. i loved this post so much!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys January 31, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      And now you have a new wonderful role as grandmother (you seem far too young!!)… Lots of the fun stuff, less of the tough stuff (although they listen better to you no doubt!!).

      Sent from my iPhone


      • Reply ksbeth February 1, 2014 at 5:13 am

        yes, now it is all pretty much just fun and thanks for the compliment )

  • Reply sagescenery February 1, 2014 at 2:36 am

    I only have one child…he’s 23 now, but as a teacher (for 26 years in NJ), I took an amazing course by Lee Canter called “Assertive Discipline.” It made all the difference in my classrooms with 25-30 kids…and of course, while raising my son!

    Here’s how it works…pretend you’re sick with the flu or something…you know you’d traipse right into that classroom (or playroom at home), and say to the kids, “Okay, here’s how it is today…I don’t feel well, and I’m not going to take any nonsense AT All!!” Then, spill out every rule, and every consequence, necessary to get through the day…and ENFORCE them immediately!!

    I still teach part-time here in FL, and believe me, I see kids all the time with no self-control…they need to know the boundaries…and learn to work within them, and be happy!

    The key is to get the class ring-leader (or your oldest, or most compliant, child) to get on-board!! In a large class for instance, 98% of the kids will go along with the program, and you need to use them to get the other 2% to WANT to comply!! Group incentives, rewards, positive reinforcement, encouragement, etc.

    Parenting is the hardest teaching job…they live with you!!! Prayers for all of you as you live and love each other!! God Bless!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys February 1, 2014 at 6:42 am

      Sounds like a great plan…. Just need one compliant child!! I think as they get a little older I’ll be able to reason and bargain more… In theory! Thanks for your fab input x

      Sent from my iPhone


      • Reply sagescenery February 1, 2014 at 1:30 pm

        Ha! Probably won’t be the same child who’s compliant every time!! Well, that’s life!!

  • Reply Have a laugh on me February 1, 2014 at 9:03 am

    My boys are like that together 2.4 and 4 years old – not sure but think yours are similar, they are SHOCKING, like Taz the Devil, you know the cartoon one? We are all in the same boat in regards to little shits not doing what they’re told. My nearly 6 year old is WAY more compliant now. The best can do is try not to lose our shiz, our minds and our marbles. May the force be with you x

  • Reply Belinda Galbraith February 1, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Just today I asked myself ‘what have I done wrong for my children to be so badly behaved?’. Between a petulant 4 year old and a 2 year old who manages to end up in the most dangerous situations possible (sharp knives, matches, roads) despite child proofing EVERYTHING… Most days I feel like I’m losing my mind and my cool way too often.

  • Reply Luisa February 1, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    My worst day ever, at the woollies checkout with an overflowing trolley. I’m trying desperately to find my purse in the nappy bag as if looking hard enough would make it magically transport from the kitchen bench at home to my bag to save me. Amelia is crying in the trolley, she had enough and Jacob was holding onto the handles trying to secure his feet to the front of the trolley. After my 47attempts to stop him he finally tips the trolley sister and all onto himself. The whole centre stops, stares and no one helps as I try to comfort and rescue both my children when really all I wanted to do was run.
    I don’t vividly remember any other shopping experience but that moment 8 years ago still haunts me.
    And yes I went home with them crying and no groceries.

  • Reply Sonia Life Love Hiccups February 1, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Oh chick – you just described my life in detail! Right there with you in camaraderie xx

  • Reply Supermarket mayhem and spelt hot cross buns | Keeping Up With The Holsbys March 22, 2014 at 7:34 am

    […] will be as embarrassing as the penis in the meat department, I’m […]

  • Reply The secret shame of miscarriage November 9, 2014 at 7:35 am

    […] didn’t take it to the supermarket and then forget which trolley was mine and simply walk off pushing another person’s, […]

  • Reply Natalie February 5, 2015 at 11:49 am

    It’s nice to know I am not alone. I am not the mother I want to be. I am divorced and struggling. I yell… a lot. And I hate it! I’m so stressed all of the time and just want to know when it’s going to end. When do we get our happy back. When do my kids get their kind, happy mum back… not the aged, stressed, frowning, scolding mum. But life is a battle atm.
    My ex is an absent dad and it’s bloody hard on all of us. My kids emotional well-being especially which is what I believe has affected most of their behaviour. I curse him daily (in my head) for doing this to his kids. They are lost too. 🙁

    • Reply Danielle February 5, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      I have a new frown wrinkle right between my eyes. I’m lucky with my ex. We are very amicable now and we have a routine with the kids. I hope things get easier for you, darlin’.

  • Reply Aleney February 22, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    If it’s any consolation my little one just told me the birthday cake I spent hours and hours making for her looked like a ‘”chocolate vagina” – in front of about 20 of her pre-school friends parents who I’d never met before. And that I’m guessing I will never see again, because I’m hiding under my bed and never coming out. And honey, those lovely children are waiting patiently and who sit quietly and eat the chips in cafes? Don’t worry about them, they’re synthetic. They have to be. Real children don’t behave that way xx

    • Reply Danielle February 24, 2015 at 7:44 am

      The Frozen cake? it was spectacular, lady! Which bit was the vagina??? I’m sure everyone devoured it regardless of the likeness 😉

  • Reply Aleney March 6, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    It was delicious and devoured. As for which bit was the vagina I’ve no idea. I’ve never seen one that looked quite like that before 😉

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