My head

The Kitchen Disco – where you dance in motherhood

February 13, 2015
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I recently got a little bit boozy and danced with headphones on my kitchen.

The headphones were because my kids were sleeping and I wanted it loud and the boozy was because, well, alcohol.

As I was busting shapes on the linoleum I thought about how awesome it felt to dance. I thought about the hundreds, if not millions, of hours I spent in clubs dancing on podiums in tiny little strappy things and knee high boots, or muddy and stinky at festivals wearing Blundstones and cut-offs, with a Hawaiian shirt over a bikini top, topped with a cowboy hat as I gurned the weekend away thinking I was going to be young and fabulous forever.

Alas….

Now I dance in my slippers in my own private silent disco hoping to God the neighbours can’t see in because whilst my club moves were fabulous on a 20 year old, on an almost 40 year old they possibly look a tad epileptic.

Or apoplectic.

I don’t quite know where that person went.

I still love music and dancing but it’s a rarity these days due to life. In so many ways I feel like that same person. I don’t feel like I have my shit together a great deal more than I did then, but I guess I’m not tending bars in nightclubs, flirting with guys for a gold coin tip in my jar, and swilling tequila as if it were water.

Life has become a whole lot slower.

I love my kids, and I love my life.

It’s not that.

I always knew I wanted to be a mother. I’ve loved babies for as long as I can remember but I really should have paid more attention to the RSCPA ads, because a child is not just for Christmas.

motherhood

You have them for a really long time, or at least until they move out and apparently you never stop worrying about them even then.

(Sorry, Mama. I know I sent you grey.)

I don’t think I really considered the consequences of juggling the wellbeing of more people than myself, and juggling the desires of more people than myself, and juggling a career when I have only limited hours in the day because I need to be looking after small, funny smelling people.

I don’t know how working mums manage and I take my hat off to them. A normal work day is 9-5, and then you throw in some travel time.

How do people work if they don’t work for themselves and have no family to help? What do they do with their children before and after school?

I never considered the commitment of never being able to have a hangover in peace again, or to go where I would like to go on holidays because at this current juncture I need to consider everyone else’s needs before my own. Is there stuff for the kids to do? Adequate, affordable babysitting in case I don’t want to go to bed at 8.30 in my room every night with them?

Obviously, I realise I’m blessed to have such first world problems but believe me if the 22 year old backpacker me heard me talking about going to a resort with adequate child minding so I can have a few days peace beside a pool with a swim up bar she would have laughed and laughed at how pedestrian I’ve become.

Where is the adventure?

Or am I just a grown up?

When I was in Varanassi in India, sitting by the Ganges, I saw an Australian family (Bedreaded, wearing only Indian cotton and slightly smelly looking, but I was pretty funky at that time) spreading vegemite on toast for their toddler, a smaller baby strapped to the mother’s body and I vowed that I was going to be that kind of parent.

I so am not.

The thought of my children picking up dysentary after eating something off the ground in India makes me want to wash their mouths out with disinfectant and steel wool.

People keep telling me it gets easier. And sure, it really does. But while soon I won’t be shackled by naps times and routines, I’ll be shackled by school terms and extracurricular football and dancing and swimming all weekend if I want to be a really good mum.

I don’t regret becoming a mum in the slightest, in fact, my children are my greatest achievement to date, but I do at times lament the old carefree me who thought I would live a life less ordinary than worrying about the mortgage and being a single mum living in suburbia dancing drunk in my slippers.

But I guess I never did become that superstar actress I dreamed of.

And I should really be grateful.

Because if I did then maybe I wouldn’t have these glorious human beings with sparkling blue eyes and cheeky smiles that call me Mama and cuddle into me for comfort.

Maybe I should be grateful because this somewhat ordinary life allowed me to become me. With really comfy slippers.

And wine delivered by the case.

 

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21 Comments

  • Reply Carolyn @ Champagne Cartel February 13, 2015 at 8:39 am

    When my eldest was four months old, I hired a babysitter for the day and went to the Big Day Out, in hindsight because I wanted to prove to the world that nothing had changed. But I was a liar (and standing in a stall at a music festival expressing because your boobs are about to explode is a very surreal experience). Everything had changed. I always swore I wouldn’t be that pedestrian parent, but now I embrace it. I live in the suburbs with three happily average but delightful children. I have friends who face challenges I could never dream of, and it makes me thankful every day for my average life. And there is so much to embrace about this stage – an increase in confidence, a sense of comfort in my own skin (even if it is more stretched out and wrinkly than it was when I hated it), and a more outward focus.

    But my sense of rhythm has left me, which makes me sad. I used to dance on bars and stages and tables all over the place – now I absolutely suck. This makes me sad.

    • Reply Danielle February 14, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      Where did it go? It has to still be there…. you can’t just lose it.
      Unless you used it all up???

  • Reply Sonia from Sonia Styling February 13, 2015 at 9:33 am

    My favourite place to dance in the whole wide world is my loungeroom. My best nights have happened there and I haven’t needed to wear heels or makeup. Embrace those kitchen dance moves, babe. You’ve got it going on! x

    • Reply Danielle February 14, 2015 at 2:22 pm

      Sock dancing on wooden floors…. oooooh yeah. one day we shall kitchen dance together x

  • Reply Ana February 13, 2015 at 9:38 am

    I wash up with headphones on and my iPod in my pocket EVERY NIGHT. And yes, I dance too. I am forty, have four children, live in the ‘burbs, and am slightly tipsy most nights.

    My life rules.

    Great post Danielle.

    • Reply Danielle February 14, 2015 at 2:22 pm

      It does rule. You got it, Mama.

  • Reply Jess February 13, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Is this the great Paradox of Parenting? That it can be SO good, and SO shit all at once? I certainly think that the greatest mental leap that I’ve had to make (and I’m still getting there) is that my independence is virtually gone. That I can’t just grab my handbag and go… I do have to keep reminding myself that this stage will be a fairly short one in the scheme of things, and there will be a point in the future where I will wish SO hard that I was back here, now, at home most days spending time with a toddler who is a total joy (between meltdowns). It’s an exquisite example of life showing you that you can’t have your cake & eat it too.

    • Reply Carolyn @ Champagne Cartel February 14, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      I love that assessment, Jess! So true.

    • Reply Danielle February 14, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      An exquisite example indeed… I do like cake.

  • Reply Zanni February 13, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Gosh I relate to this. I so imagined living on pacific islands with my kids being Interestinh and free. I smile knowingly as my 30 year old brother tells me about he and his girlfriends plans to study/travel/have a baby and a mortgage and live in Arnhem Land just for the experience. Yeah right. Gregor is the ultimate dystentry phobe and maleria phobe so we will never go anywhere with a high likelihood of getting illness. Yesterday staring at my interesting ceilings I wondered why I am not completely content with all this… Why do I continue to dream? But then I think it keeps us going, and being productive and innovative. Contentment is one thing, but constantly wondering what’s on the other side of the wall keeps you kind of interested in life. X

    • Reply Danielle February 14, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      That’s an interesting way to look at it. I think I’ll look at it through those glasses too x

  • Reply Kirsty Rice February 13, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    Keep dancing babe. When I met you, you were dressed as a pirate and talking filth. This is, I suspect, what made me fall in love with you. I have a dubious history of tequila shots, dance floor antics and surprise wake ups “oh hello, let me introduce myself”. I now ferry people to softball games at 8am, make 350 hamburger patties for the soccer tournament (just this morning) and think about the grocery shopping as a bit of a treat. I’d like to be the old me for a day, just to check out my body, feel that energy and appreciate my youth. I suspect I will say the exact same thing about myself in another 10 years 😉

    • Reply Danielle February 14, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      Ha, and what a night that was….yes, it’s very true. It’s the kicker of reminiscing isn’t it?

  • Reply Renee Wilson February 16, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Oh my God I love this post! I don’t know where the funky little chicka who used to cut rugs out clubbing three times a week went either!! At times I miss her and that life and other times I’m glad I’ve moved past that because to be an almost 40 year old burning up the dance floor in a club weekly is a little sad :/ These days I dance in my lounge room too and the kids join in. We totally rocked all day long on Australia Day to the hottest 100. I definitely want to travel with my kids and show them some of the amazing things I’ve seen, but it will all be in proper hotels and not backpacker hostels where you pick up fungus on your face from the bedsheets. Ahhh those were the days 😉

  • Reply Shell Parsons February 27, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Nothing wrong with dancing in the kitchen Danielle. I do it ALL the time…mostly when no one is home. It brings back many wonderful memories of my life as a teen. I used to do modern dance at school and loved every minute of it. Then life got in the way, but dancing in the kitchen allows me to reconnect with my inner child and I wouldn’t give it up for all the tea in China!

  • Reply Emily February 27, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    This is where never having been the cool person in the first place helps! All jokes aside, I’ve never been a party hardy animal so I’m actually finding the taking turns with my husband for nights out and getting out-of-town grandparents to come occasionally so we can have a date quite liberating because we NEVER used to do things like that.
    I’m hating the old me as I read that. But life was great. It just still is.
    Great post. I know I only met you briefly at PB but I could hear it in your voice. x

  • Reply Sonia Life Love Hiccups February 27, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Oh God I love this. Dancing with you chick… all be it to a slightly different tune to what we expected 😉 xx

  • Reply Bron flat bum mum March 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Oh Danielle,

    It’s like you are living in my head! Thank you for such an honest and hilarious account of the woes of motherhood. X

  • Reply Carmie March 2, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    I just read my life. My exact feelings. Thank god there is someone else like me out there! Fantastic. I am sitting at my kitchen table writing a client presentation that was due this morning…that would have been completed Sunday night had my daughter not ended up in emergency with a viral infection. Today I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry at the challenges of being a single Mum and trying to start a business. Sometimes it feels too big, too challenging and yet I can’t see any other way. And so, I am learning to roll with the punches, to let go of my previous life as a perfectionist. I’m learning to truly wing it in every sense of the word. My daughter is sleeping (and coughing) in my bed and I know in the wee small hours when I get to bed, despite the feeling of failure on the career front there is something about her that makes it all feel ok, like I am going to get up and try again tomorrow. Now, I would never have thought like that before she arrived. Hats off to you for dancing in the kitchen, something long overdue in my own life but you’ve given me inspiration and a very achievable place to start. Thank you xx

  • Reply Kathy March 2, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    I love the combo of resignation and hope, not-quite-regret and ever-present hope. Dancing will bring up all those emotions and more. Nothing goes to plan and everything works out as it is meant to. Or something like that. Glad I belatedly found this post Danielle via Nikki at Styling You.

  • Reply Lauren - Gold Coast Mum November 6, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Love this. And…this is why I try to do a Zumba (or ‘dance fitness’) class one hour a week so I can have a boogie and let out some of my craziness (dodgy facial expressions/lipsyncing/actual singing and all) minus a champas in-hand.

    The biggest ‘Ah-haaa’ moment for me, that indicated times have changes, was when I started playing indoor netball again a few months ago after having not played in years and years.
    In my head I was still a whipper snipper, athletic Centre. In reality, I was not all that jazz :-O Thank you 4 children in 3 years/ pelvic floor muscles/ diastasis recti ;-O

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