Well I bet that title has you wondering? Have I taken up circus skills? Zip wires at dawn?Spandex leotards a plenty? For everyone’s sakes, let me please reassure you this is very far from the case. Not so much a vision in lycra, more a disturbing, nightmarish-never going to sleep – again kind of a scenario that would be! However, I think it is a pretty good sum up of my every day life and probably applies to the majority of parents and particularly those of us who inhabit the special needs world.
Lately nonetheless, I have reached a bit of a cross-roads, a crisis of confidence as it were. I’m not sure why but I think it’s because I feel a bit….well…useless. Lacking in purpose? Maybe that my life is a little too self indulgent? Meh. I can’t really explain it properly but I think the combination of not having a ‘proper’ job and having children who are growing up (far too fast!) and no longer need me in the way they did when they were very little has probably played a part.
Don’t get me wrong I feel very privileged to be a stay at home mother, even now all my children are in mainstream school and as a steady stream of brown appointment envelopes thump on to the mat, I am cognisant of the fact that I am not a good employment prospect. But there are times when I have felt a yearning to do more, be more and make a difference.
A few people I have met recently have said to me “So what do you do?”I have no doubt they are being perfectly polite. It is after all an entirely reasonable question to ask someone you don’t know and are trying to build a rapport with. But when we have exchanged the finer details and the ages of our children, now with them not being ‘little,’ some how being a stay at home Mum seems a bit 1950’s housewife.
I am sure it says more about my own insecurities than anything they may say in reply but I can’t help feeling judged and inconsequential. After all, it’s definitely not good form to launch into the fact that you have 3 kids with extra needs and all that that entails on a first meeting, so my life, at least to them, probably seems idyllic and twee in the extreme.
When all is going swimmingly in my world (well as swimmingly as it ever does with 4 children 😉 ) I realise that I am incredibly blessed and lucky. I have a loving, supportive husband who as the soul breadwinner is happy for me to be on the home front. (I suspect that is mainly so that I keep him in cake!) He is both a fantastic father and hubby and pulls his weight with the house-hold chores. We probably spend more time together than the average couple – shift work means that we even get some quality time (ugh, overused phrase but it really is apt) without the children, although weekends together are as rare as hens teeth.
When I am tempted to think I could add a bit more crazy to the mix – such as getting a ‘pucker’ job, a dog, (kids – keep hoping!) and adding more hours, more charities, to voluntary work, I often find that life likes to send me a leetle, teeny-tiny kick in the pants that it’s not always a bed of roses…. and that roses themselves come with very prickly thorns.
All it takes for me to remember that this is carefully built house of cards can not just wobble on its foundations but come crashing down is for one of my little
gremlins, darlings to throw a bit of a hissy into the works. Be that a medically complicated issue or when our off-spring with social and communication issues relating to his aspergers and sensory processing difficulties has a moment (understatement).
Misunderstandings between teachers, peers, us parents and his siblings can derail our son, blind-side us and the fall out leave us reeling for weeks on end. He is an amazing young man but lately the combination of autism together with puberty, hormones and the chaos of life in general means that things have not been plain sailing. Having also just had a phone call from school detailing today’s antics and the fact he’s gone missing yet again, gives me the exact kick in the pants I need to know I am right where I am supposed to be in my life right now and I just need to suck it up buttercup….<Slurps Pinot Grigio to combat nerves>
Where does the wrestling come in you might ask, going back to the title of the piece? Well I am exiting this pity party for one right now and am going to over-share – just what everyone needs on a chilly Thursday right??
So, having decided that when people ask me what I do these days, suggesting that I am the one who makes the “here’s one I made earlier” option on Saturday Kitchen, Bake Off or Blue Peter gets doesn’t cut the mustard and often gets met with a look that says they will be ringing for the men in white coats very soon, I am now going to say I am a wrestler extra-ordinare….and I am not lying.
This little gemstone did in fact come into my mind when I was attempting to wriggle myself into what I believe is affectionately known as a support garment. Look, after 4 kids and a chocolate biscuit habit that keeps McVitie’s stockholders happy, a woman needs all the help she can get right? So I purchased a body suit.
Yes, yes I know I should STEP AWAY from the fattening, naughty things and BEHAVE but frankly nothing short of manacling me and gaffer taping this mouth is going to keep me away from all things Cadbury, Pringles and the like. FYI, if any food companies want to sponsor me after reading my blog posts (knew there had to be reason brand names were coming to me thick and fast) I am open to
So recently, I saw an offer from a company. In the context of this post (& until I get offered a discount/deal for their advertising) let’s call them ‘Poupon.’ ‘Poupon’ were doing a deal on the sort of lift em/shift em truss all in one piece that engineers would be proud to utilise in forming a suspension bridge and I was sure that this would give me the svelte curves of my dreams….or at least make it look less like a sausage stuffed into my dress.
What I hadn’t factored into the equation however is that getting such a garment on one’s body requires the contortionist skills that made Houdini look like an amateur and the gymnastic abilities of Olga Corbett all rolled into one.
Having tried initially to pull the garment over my head and wrestle my arms in, at one point, I was completely blind. Both I and it was well and truly stuck, not budging at all. There I was in the bathroom, stark naked except for the flesh coloured item of torture half way over head, arms wiggling like a loon. It would not move up, nor would it move down…and then came the ominous sound of stitching ripping.
After a few moments of panic, some heavy breathing and a possible shoulder dislocation I managed to get the wretched thing back over my head. Panting, in a sticky heap on the floor, I contemplated the fact that I must have lost a good half a stone with all the moves I had just been pulling. It also vaguely crossed my mind that the shower I had just had prior to my endeavours was a waste of time.
Not one who gives in easily, I decided to work this situation from the feet up; this had to be an easier option. Wrong. Very wrong. Getting the monstrosity up the thighs and above the waist was just as arduous a task as before. More worrying stitch tearing noises but I persevered and managed to wriggle into it …and then somehow had to get my arms into position too. By the time I had struck moves that would have made Darcey Bussell weep (probably not in a good way) and got the infernal thing into some sort of alignment, I realised I now had a mono-boob positioned somewhere near my chin.
At this point I could have wept but made do with muttering profanities quietly since small ears were in the vicinity. Mindful that enhancing their vocabulary with words that rhymed with ‘banker’ and erm….’rollocks?’ probably wouldn’t endear me to their teachers or other parents, I thought I had got away without attracting the attention of my off-spring
Minx however, had clearly heard some sort of commotion and came to investigate. “Mummy, why are you all red and why do you look like you are wearing a bandage? Oh and where has your other boobie gone?” Clearly the look I was going for…..not…
Having battled for so long, I was determined I was not giving in and with a few more tweaks and shuffles, managed to appropriate the quasi- straight jacket into the correct location. Truth be told, I wondered by know if I really needed the garment at all. After all, if I had lost a good half a stone with my initial endeavours, I must now be down an even stone and leaner than a supermodel? (Tongue firmly in cheek).
I shuffled over to the mirror. Little known fact – support suits make you waddle like a duck…and it was a painful waddle at that. I can’t say I gasped with amazement at my newly hourglass shape but was sure that under the dress it would make all the difference.
And then it dawned on me, what if I needed the toilet???? There was no way I could be doing this routine more than twice a day (I figured that taking it off later that night would require similar exhibitionism). Fortunately, a quick glance (which was accompanied by a strangled gasp, apparently body suits like these re-arrange your internal organs) revealed a hook and eye device in the nether regions. Result!
So after I slid the dress on, popped on some slap and stood in front of the mirror, did a vision of loveliness gaze back at me? Erm not really…and I still looked vaguely sausage shaped but time was pressing and I had places to be so that was that.
I hadn’t factored that getting in the car would cause more re-alignment of my innards and painful cramping, breathing perhaps being optional but we made our way to our Saturday morning Synagogue service and I was DETERMINED to stick out this torture.
Once the service was over, I was chatting to friends in the community when I felt an ominous twanging in the nether regions. Not only was this a very bad thing to happen whatever the circumstances but a place of worship is definitely not a good environment for such mayhem. The timing was made even worse as I was busy passing round platters of sandwiches, cue lurching awkwardly forwards and nearly up- ending plates and food on the floor! Proving again my circus skills, I managed an inelegant tumble but plates remained aloft and food in place. A lucky escape.
Managing to excuse myself, I realised that the body suit was now flapping open as evidenced by the breeze and if it wasn’t for my tights, there could have been an alfresco situation going on. Suitably mortified as well as horrified, I made a rapid exit promising a plague of epic proportions on the makers of all lycra based support wear and probably cancelling out all my good deeds of the morning thus far.
Driving home as fast as I could (still within the speed limit in case the boys and girls in blue are reading) I dashed/cum waddled my way back into the bathroom to remove the offending item and consign it straight to the depths of laundry hell. I’d like to say it was easier to take off than on but I would be lying. Suffice to say that a) I am not insane, b? not that desperate to be thin and c) it requires all kinds of special washing instructions so it will probably lay in the murky corners of the basket, never to be warn again but glinting up at me grimly from the dark recess.
Moral of the story? Probably that I should eat less biscuits and definitely give up on artifices to whittle the waist but at least I gained a whole new career out of it all….right?! In fact, I’m just off to think about my wrestling name right now…..