Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Sefish Bogan?

I  was sitting here in blissful, wonderful silence this morning reading this post  by the wonderful Emily at Have A Laugh On Me and her questions got me to thinking. Yes, that’s what that  burning smell is. I do  occasionally think about  other  things beside cake or Karen Carpenter. See? I waited until the third sentence to mention them! Hmph. 
I love quiet time. I guess it goes with the territory of being quiet, shy, introverted and an Aspie.  Yep, I certainly hit the jackpot there with all those marvellous traits. Apparently, I don't know how to spell marvellous anymore as it has just appeared with one of those annoying squiggly red lines under it. Or spell, period. Isn't that just MARVELLOUS? Or however the fuck you spell it. HMPH.

I also have to confess that sometimes this fervent love of solitude makes me feel like I may be a tad selfish and self-absorbed at times. Which is just plain silly, right? This is a theory that I've actually had suggested to me: that quiet people are selfish. At the time I remember thinking that this was utter bullshit but of course I didn't say anything. After all, I'm quiet (or selfish depending on your point of view) so I kept my 'what a load of bullshit' thought to myself.

The irony was that this occurred in a group I attended to do with confidence building.  Oddly enough being told that you're considered selfish didn't do a great deal to boost my confidence. Funny about that.

Another funny thing is that I before I had children I kind of knew this about myself - that I had an extreme need for quiet time and solitude and that this would probably be my biggest challenge with having children. In spite of this, I still plunged ahead and had three of these delightful creatures, proving that in addition to being selfish I am also a masochist. On the plus side, it's nice to have yourself figured out at this advanced age. Meaning, the wrong side of forty. I’m a selfish, self-absorbed masochist. Nice.

Which brings me to Emily’s question  about volunteering for the school tuck shop, P & C or as a parent helper. As a stay at home mum who doesn’t do any of these things am I being selfish? Even though I feel  like I have  valid reasons, are those reasons selfish or wrong?


I don’t have good people skills:  People are scary. You have to talk to them and make eye contact, which are two things I am simply not stellar at. Should I force myself to do so in spite of this?

I have helped in the canteen at the boys soccer grounds. Once. Shut up. This involved a hatrick of skills I do not  possess. Talking to and serving people,  remembering orders and adding up the money. I was a nervous wreck at the end of an hour and have never wished to repeat the experience.

I struggle with just helping my boys with their homework. This is something I’m not proud of, but there it is. It’s quite humiliating to not understand primary school homework, so  perhaps I do need to  return to school. However, not as a parent helper, but as a student, so I can learn basic grammar (this blog could certainly benefit from it) and maths all over again and how to spell words like marvellous. Plus, I’m sure I’d still look quite cute in a uniform and pig tails. No?

Previously, I took Mr 5 to a Play Group where the interactions between parents sometimes became slightly political while I  tried to remain like Switzerland – neutral – and not get  involved. For this reason I prefer to avoid P&C committees with the same sleuth like elusiveness I employ in avoiding the I Quit Sugar craze. In fact, that is where you would find me at Play Group. In the corner where the morning tea cakies were, shoving them in my gob to avoid talking and, you know, just because I’m addicted to cake. Ahem.  If  P&C meetings involved cake of any description, I’d be a candidate for The Biggest Loser before the year is through.

I did volunteer to help in the library at the boys  previous school. I figured that I do have a Library Practice Diploma (even though it's more than twenty years old - details) and experience working in specialist libraries ( a long time ago, but again- details). I was given a stack of books to take home and cover. I didn't mind doing this. Where other people might find it tedious and prefer social contact, I'd rather work with books than people. I'm weird. So perhaps I could try that again and play to my strengths.

Now I’m back to my original point about LOVING quiet time. I as I stated, it does seem somewhat selfish but the truth is that I desperately, desperately need to have time to myself or, to be completely blunt and honest, I feel that my mental health starts to suffer.  In order to function as a mother of three boys and keep on top of everything that goes with the territory I need time to recharge. I also need to do physical exercise and break a sweat every day. I know everyone needs this, but as a person who has challenges with anxiety requiring medication I need this like I need air. It does seem selfish and a tad self-absorbed at times but it’s the truth.

 And that little myth about having more time once the kids are all at school? That’s what it is: a myth. Sorry to burst that bubble if your kidlets are not at school yet. I personally find that school brings with it much more stuff to organise and remember and also constant socialising in the form of school fetes, assemblies and the inevitable birthday party invitations that arrive. These are things I need to pace myself with. As someone on the spectrum, I have different challenges than other Mum’s who perhaps can handle the whole multi-tasking, socialising, P&C committee attending, soccer Mum thing with greater ease than me.

And ultimately, as I read in the book Power Over Panic by Bronwyn Fox, my mental health  has to be more important than what someone might think of me. This is now my mantra.

Do you need quiet time to cope with the demands of parenting?  How do you recharge? Or do you think I’m selfish?


  1. No way - you're not selfish, I can't imagine how hard things that I take for granted must be for you. We aren't all outgoing, oversharers, overtalkers and thank goodness imagine how noisy, chaotic and crazy life would be. Without people like yourself who quietly help in the wings lots of things wouldn't get done. I'm sure there are lots of reasons why people don't help out and it doesn't mean they are selfish, especially not in your case. Taking care of your own mental health has to be at the top of your list otherwise you won't be able to continue being the great mum you obviously are. I do believe there are SOME people that do have the attitude that someone else can do it, and I know you're not one of them xxxxxx

  2. I really don't see selfishness in you Ness. You're into self-examination. You try to understand yourself and your challenges better. You recognize what works for you and what doesn't work for you.

    Allowing yourself to unwind with mental breaks and music and other healthy micro-vacations from stress is not only desirable, it's essential to your mental health. We all need such release or we will become ill and not live very long. Such a state neither serves yourself or those you're charged with caring for.

    No need for apologies and certainly no need for guilt. As long as you don't let your micro-vacations carry you away, you are fine. Don't borrow trouble and don't sweat the small stuff. Enjoy your breaks and recharge, because life can be difficult enough without driving yourself into the ground.

    Now I'll go watch that Fred & Ginger video I told everyone about and will destress a little.


    1. As usual everything you say makes sense. Sometimes I think I over do it with the self-examination thing so I'm trying to be mindful of that. But yes, definitely need those micro-vacations - especially to enjoy Carpenters music!
      Thanks, Ben.

  3. You are not selfish at all. I need quiet time too which is why I stay up too late at night to get it. And then become grumpy mum the next morning when I haven't had enough sleep and struggle to deal with the demands of the kids. I may have to revisit my strategy for quiet time... x

    1. Oh yes, I do the staying up late thing too. It's hard to fit in some down time but really essential. Thanks Kirsty. xo

  4. It's not selfishness lovely, it's the way you're wired. We are not all the same. And really, it's nowt at all to do with anybody else what other people are getting up to. I have days where I can't do normal stuff - not lately thank goodness - because of my mental health issues. People are always astonished because I come across as fairly confident and outgoing. And I am - when my mental health is good. I had an acquaintance trying to force me to help her with her something early last year when I was going through a bad bout of depression. Apparently I looked fine. I told her I wasn't. But hey, I looked it so I must have been, right? Or, I could have been clinging on to sanity by the raw edge of my stumpy little fingernails and just faking it quite well that day. The fact that I disappeared for about 3 weeks apparently was not a clue.

    I work now with children who have experienced grief and loss. And it's not always death, sometimes it's long term illness or separation. Those parents are already going through hell, should they tell everyone their business even if they don't want to so they're not asked to volunteer? Should they suck it up and add more anxiety and stress to their already trauma filled lives?

    And do we ever hear fathers being harassed to volunteer? Why not? Could it be that we accept they have jobs which pay the bills? Just like many mums. And therefore do NOT always have the time to do the school's job for them. Just like many mums.

    As I said earlier, I volunteered at the school. I was able to and happy to. What's that got to do with anybody else? How about we just do what works best for us and not make assumptions about other people?

    We have not the faintest idea about people's inner lives. So long as they're not doing things to hurt us we need to aim for kind and supportive. I'm great at working within the primary school curriculum and comfortable working with children. I'd be pretty shite in a library though and I bloody HATE covering books. I don't do that anymore actually. I discovered those little plastic slip on and off covers a few years ago and never looked back :)

    Keep on keeping on Ness, we love you as you are :)

    1. I just love reading your comments Ace and love your attitude and I totally love you as you are, too. I wish more people were like you and didn't judge. It's so true what you say - we don't have the faintest idea about people's inner lives. I can 'fake it' to a degree, too but it always catches up with me. Glad to hear you're travelling a bit better at the moment. xoxo

    2. Ah bless, thanks. I can be a judgemental harpy about some things I suspect, but appreciate the kind words :)

  5. I got a big laugh out of this light hearted post Ness, you might enjoy it too :) http://www.ivillage.com.au/six-school-mums-to-avoid/

    1. Thanks for the link. I went and had a read and it did make me laugh. I'm sure there are many lovely school mum's but there are a few who are a bit - scary. Thanks again. xo