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Mothers don’t get holidays: 5 things 17.10.2016

1. We’re one week into yet another school holiday. (Autumn term is terrifyingly short, just seven weeks – I hadn’t even slightly recovered from the summer holiday yet!) Thanks to a calendar fail, Armin had a week off work at the same time as Elf had a week-long craft “camp”. Which made for a rather nice, relaxed time, with two parents home, just one kid and not much on. But also the inevitable tension between said parents as to exactly who needed to be on duty and who needed to be Doing Their Stuff. Ah well. We’ll figure all this out by the time they finish university, I guess.

2. Speaking of university, I’ve been watching my beloved UCT’s #FeesMustFall implosion with all kinds of pain. It’s a very flawed institution but still holds a special place in my heart, and a whole passel of my friends work there, and their futures are now all in jeopardy. The protestors have legitimate grievances, but the actual protests are horribly misdirected, to say the least. None of this is anything to do with me personally, I don’t have any great insights or comment to offer, it’s just been a painful and ever-present distraction. 

3. Meanwhile Elf’s art camp was a great opportunity for her to take another step towards independence – she can now take the bus by herself! Something she’s been longing to do. I’m so proud of my girl; it’s not long ago she was clingy and terrified. Now this. It’s so hard to be sure of the right time to take each step, though. Elf got quite cross with me the other day, when I wasn’t able to give her a straight answer to a question about when children were “allowed” to take the bus alone. “Just tell me the RULE Mommy!” she said. And was shocked to hear that there really wasn’t a rule. Wouldn’t it be great if there were? An actual parenting manual with simple policies and procedures. So helpful.

4. Partner in design crime Emily sent me this article, since she knows how much I struggle with the introverted parenting thing. Spot on, despite the dodgy writing (“they risk feeling overwhelmed – which is bad.” YOU DON’T SAY). One of the huge problems for me, apart from the simple stress of needing to be ON all the time, is the worry that managing my own needs amounts to neglect of the kids. I love that she recommends wearing headphones while walking the baby; the health visitor gave me such side-eye for doing exactly that. Elf was a few months old at the time. I mean. *sigh* 

5. And on another poor-self-esteem front, I’m inching closer to the next big pattern release (oooh!); it’s a few weeks away and I’m so not ready. I will be, presumably. One way or another. But right now I’m terrifyingly not ready. It seems that as a designer, I do not do well under pressure. An odd contrast to my performance as a sub-editor; in a newsroom, I thrive on deadline. But without that structure I’m just a bit of a mess. I really miss the validation of having a proper job; even when you feel underappreciated, you still basically know if you’re doing well. That’s… nice.

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