The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page - WORDS// RACHAEL JANSEN

Ihave this lit­tle say­ing about be­ing a mother: They whine, so I wine. It’s only fair. Mostly people laugh when I say this. I sus­pect they think I’m jok­ing. I’m not. There’s noth­ing funny about the whine of your off­spring.

Un­less you’ve al­ready had a wine or two, then you laugh and laugh and laugh at them, prob­a­bly caus­ing long-term emo­tional and men­tal scars for said chil­dren. Oops.

While the kids rate very low on the Wine4Whine scale, and it’s con­tained to a weekend tip­ple, there are days when I’ve opened the fridge at lunch time and caught my­self star­ing at that bot­tle of white and think­ing se­ri­ously about it. Be­cause, you know… kids!

So far I’ve re­sisted temp­ta­tion and kept my dig­nity in­tact, al­though not so much my pa­tience.

Now, I’m in Ocsober and par­ent­ing wine­free. This is not a new thing. I’ve han­dled whin­ing wine-free for months at a time be­fore, mostly to prove that I can.

How­ever, the last time I did Ocsober it turned into Choc-to­ber when I re­placed wine with choco­late.

That in­evitably evolved into a sugar-free No-no-Novem­ber. But that was a few years ago and, as we’ve been a sugar-free house­hold for the past cou­ple of years, there’ll be no choco­late con­so­la­tion this time around.

No wine, no choco­late – it’s par­ent­ing with­out a safety net. Some­thing for only the very tal­ented – or very stupid. Jury’s still out on which of those I am – we’ll see how the kids turn out in an­other decade or so.

Any­way, I’m on the hunt for a new re­ward sys­tem – not one for the kids, one for me be­cause I need a re­ward be­yond send­ing them to bed at the end of each day.

Some­thing where you sit at the end of the week, hav­ing man­aged to keep ev­ery­one alive for an­other seven days, and go: “Oh yeah, I de­serve that”.

I know all the memes say our re­ward is the chil­dren them­selves. Yeah, yeah. What­evs. A bit of pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment doesn’t go astray. All the par­ent­ing ex­perts say so. (And yes, I know they’re talk­ing about giv­ing the chil­dren the pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment, but this is not about them for a change.)

Why shouldn’t moth­ers be re­warded for keep­ing ev­ery­one fed, clothed and breath­ing for an­other week?

They say it’s a thank­less job and a mother’s work is never done. Who­ever “they” were are no longer in charge here. There will be thanks for that work, and if it’s not from a wine bot­tle or a choco­late bar, I’ll find it some­where else.

I’m think­ing of try­ing that mys­te­ri­ous thing called “me time”.

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