HALF-PRICED DISCOUNT STILL NOT ENOUGH

“Make time for yourself.”
“It’s not about having time. It’s about making time.”
“Have a break. Have a Kit Kat.”

Life is just damn hectic. It’s go-go go from the moment I wake up and doesn’t end until I’m passed out in bed. I’m like a lab rat running on a wheel, only I’m not having fun and I can’t get off. Every so often I need a time-out, sit on the bench, press the pause button on life and give myself some self-love.

Everyone has different ideas when it comes to self-love. Some people go away on retreats. Some people do treks to reconnect with nature (*shudder*). Some people simply need a night without the kids.

My choice of self-love comes in the form of discounts, coupons and bargains. So when a business card for fifty percent off hair colouring and cut was thrust into my palm, I decided I was well overdue for some me-time.


I leaned back on the comfy chair and closed my eyes. The warm water washed over my poorly maintained hair and the caressing hands of Salon Lady massaged my scalp. It felt divine.

“Mummy.”

I ignored the voice. The smell of sweetly scented shampoo wafted towards my nose as it was slathered on my hair.

“Mummy! I’m bored.”

I couldn’t remember the last time I got a head massage. It felt great. I almost fell asleep. Almost.

“Mum! Are you even listening to me?”

I opened my eyes and peered over to my six-year-old fickle pickle.

“Darling, I told you that I would be here for a few hours,” I told Mandy. “You insisted on coming with me.”

Mandy gave me The Look. A perfect combination of apathy and boredom expected from an adolescent.

“Why don’t you get some crayons and paper from the massive bag you made me carry and create something,” I said as I closed my eyes. I desperately tried to emulate feelings of being pampered and relaxed. You know, the ones you’re supposed to have while getting hair treatment at an expensive boutique salon.

Salon Lady left to get the heating towel.

“Mummy, you should see how much of your hair is in the sink!” Mandy exclaimed, peeking into the basin.

“What?” I asked. There wasn’t any point pretending to relax anymore.

“So so much hair. Mummy, that colour doesn’t suit you,” Mandy remarked as if she was a hair colouring expert.

“It’s my natural hair colour,” I replied dryly.

Salon Lady placed the towel on my conditioned hair and asked me to chill out. How on earth was I meant to ‘chill out’ with a Debbie Downer in my ear?

After what seemed like an age of listening to Mandy whine and getting a crook neck from being forgotten by Salon Lady, I shuffled over to the chair to have my hair cut. I saw Mandy spinning in circles on a salon stool.

“Mandy! Stop that!” I yelled out. “Jeez Louise.”

I continued chatting to Salon Lady about the real estate market. From the corner of my eye, I could see Mandy draped over two seats and doing horizontal leg presses.

“Mandy! Seriously!” I yelled again. At the rate I was jerking about, I’d become a trendsetter in sporting lopsided haircuts.

As Salon Lady prepared to blow dry my hair, Mandy jumped up and down in front of me.

“Mum, I need to go,” Mandy muttered. “Like now.”

The salon didn’t have a toilet.

Self-love total bill = 50% discount + 10% whining surcharge + 10% negative commentary tax + 100% quick exit fee

Not much of a win, right?

Copyright © 2019, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

SHE-DEVIL NEEDS A MATE

After almost four years, my son is finally sleeping through the night. I no longer have to hold his hand, lay on his bed, sing lullabies, commando crawl out of his room or listen to his wailing cries for me. Hallelujah!

Now it’s a much more civilised routine. I sit on a corner chair. We chat about our day, I answer the same nightly question of why rabbits hop and in twenty minutes he’s fallen asleep. No more drama!

What changed? I grew a backbone. I stopped caving in because it was the path of least resistance. I kept my butt glued to that corner chair and did my best to ignore the cries. It took about three weeks of persistence on my part before he accepted this was the new norm. Reaching new development milestones and growing that wee bit older would have been a contributing factor too. Plus, we made a fire engine dream catcher specifically to get rid of all those terrible dreams.

My body and brain needed about two weeks to readjust and not automatically wake to check on the kids.

In the last week, especially with the bursitis in my shoulders and hip beginning to improve, I have begun sleeping through the night. It’s a relief! I feel almost normal again. A good night’s sleep does wonders for the mental health.

Imagine my absolute horror when two nights ago, I woke to the screeching and growling sounds of a monster outside my bedroom window! A red-eyed, mangy fur, sharp-clawed, razor-like teeth monster called a possum… in heat.

What the heck? I’m finally permitted into the Land of Nod and what happens? I’m violently ejected at three in the morning every night because the resident possum needs to get laid. Come on! Why my tree? Why?!

I feel like I’m getting pranked. Like a group of higher beings are watching my life through a fish bowl and thought it might be funny to f@#k with me a bit more. You know, to see what it will take to break me.

Don’t they say that the path through misery is pain? So now I wait for she-devil to find her mate.

What’s next I wonder? Feral cats yowling and paw punching over my scrap of a courtyard? Roof rats deciding to move into the space over my head? Sounds quite possible.

Copyright © 2020, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

JOURNEY TO MATURITY

During lockdown, we bought a Nintendo game called Animal Crossing. Have you heard of it? It’s a popular social simulation game where you play a customisable character that willingly moves to a deserted island run by a (shady-ass) raccoon named Tom Nook, the island landlord. He gives you a tent and some tools. You make ‘money’ through selling fish and bugs that you catch. Pillaging and pilfering for resources from smaller islands and trading on the turnip stock market gets you the big bucks (ahem… just a tip). You can recreate your own dream island filled with friends, fruit and money trees, a museum and a clothing store. If you don’t mind repaying exorbitant mortgage loans to Tom, you can turn your humble tent into a three storey house and hoard furniture and clothes until your heart’s content.

Anyway, I’m getting off track. The point is, the kids love this game and so do I. It’s fun, friendly and ever so addictive. Whenever my three-year-old son has a turn, he likes to take off all his character’s clothing and run around in his underwear. Whenever my seven-year-old daughter has a turn, she likes to go to the clothing store and spend all her money on unnecessary fashion.

It’s painful to sit and watch them play. I have a habit of telling them what to do. I remind them that there’s fruit to harvest and sell, weeds and fallen sticks to pick up, mortgage loans to repay, and island star ratings to consider.

My husband always says, “Let them play their game how they want.”

You see, I forget that each child is playing the game to their level of maturity. Each person is unique in their definition of success and their journey to maturity. What a three-year-old boy finds interesting is different to that of a seven-year-old girl. And the same goes for adults.

My son is a hoarder of fish and furniture. He has a room filled to the brim with fish tanks and furniture stacked randomly inside and outside of his house. My daughter has questionable taste in fashion and wallpaper. She will spend her entire savings at the clothing store. But that is their game. That is what’s important to them. That is where they are in their journey.

As an adult, I am used to running on that pesky treadmill of life (obviously not literally because sweating and I have a hate-hate relationship). I am much further along in my journey to maturation, having experienced some high and lows of this rollercoaster called a life. Sometimes I forget to have realistic expectations of my children.

I need to remind myself to give my children the freedom to grow emotionally, socially, spiritually and intellectually at a pace that meets their needs. They will have plenty of years to be burdened by the complexities of life but as a parent, I can try to shelter them as best I can. Hopefully, in a way that doesn’t turn them into precious snowflakes!

In the meantime, I’ll wait until they’re asleep to log onto Animal Crossing to harvest all those unpicked fruit, make some money and pay off their loans. Hey, I’m not addicted! Someone’s gotta do it. Well, that’s the excuse I’m sticking to.

Copyright © 2020, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.