So, I’m a bit crap at this whole ‘being a parent’ malarkey, if you hadn’t noticed. I thought I’d be FunMum, CalmMum, OrganicMum, DisciplineMum, LenientMum, CraftMum, BakerMum, CoolMum, EducatorMum, all rolled into one hot, young-looking goddess. Turns out I’m generally just OftenalittlebitshitMum. But that’s ok, three-and-a-half years in and it’s something I’ve learned to embrace (and blog about). So you can imagine my complete bewilderment, when, out of nowhere, life suddenly pulled together and became catalogue-cool.
Summer off with the boys came with a huge epiphany. I settled into my first fully solo few days and something felt eerily calm. How odd. Not calm as in I didn’t have to say ‘Careful!’ fourteen times a minute, and not calm as in we didn’t have a whole room dedicated to dirty laundry and a mild flea infestation. But calm as in, I suddenly looked up and realised I hadn’t had to engage properly with the children in an hour. I know this is about as Bad Mum as it gets, but I could’ve jumped for joy. THEY WERE PLAYING TOGETHER. PLAYING. BUT TOGETHER. Not playfighting, not playing alongside. Playing together. And apart from the absent minded ‘carefuls’ when they came near my (actually hot!) brew, I hadn’t looked up from my phone in an hour! Now, I am a bit ashamed that I did sit on my phone for all that time, but the fact is, I COULD. I could’ve written a novel, I could’ve sat on my phone – the point remains…. I HAD FREEDOM! A motherfudging hour of very little parenting, but whilst technically still being a parent! I had fucking cracked it.
So scared was I of jinxing it, I don’t think I told Husband Dearest for another couple of days. I, secretly, basked in the bliss of unaccompanied toilet trips, of not having to reboil the kettle for the fifth time, of not spending my minutes unpeeling fucking cheese triangles. Of course, I’m sure he began to realise when we’d had 3 consecutive days of an immaculate (← overstatement, much?) house, home cooked dinners on the table, fucking CRAFTS made and a wife that didn’t hiss a string of expletives at him the minute he walked through the door. In all honesty, he probably realised at 2pm on the first day, when he hadn’t yet received a loud-speaker phone call that began, ‘RIGHT, TELL YOUR DADDY WHAT YOU’VE JUST DONE! NOW! LOUDER, HE CAN’T HEAR YOU!’
By week two of this glorious ‘playing togetherness’, I was ready to brag. I deserved to. For ages I thought I was an incompetent mother, and it turned out it was them all along – they just hadn’t been able to get along without a constant mediator. This was the light at the end of the tunnel; the comeuppance for all the tears and fretting and constant feelings of guilt and inadequacy. They were happy, I was happy. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be with the Monsters, or that they didn’t need me, but just that I didn’t have to be sat on the floor playing with the blue car brumming at EXACTLY the right pitch, constantly, until their next dememted role-play occurred, and I’d have to pretend to be a giraffe (what fucking noise are giraffes supposed to even make, anyway?).
We vehemently decided there would never be a Monster Minorest (baby #3) as life was so perfect now, why would we rock the boat? We began to plan for the future. With no more sprogs we would be RICH! We would go on holidays constantly, we would convert all of the rooms in the house, I’d get bloody bi-folding doors, mother fuckers. WE. WERE. MADE. Our children were perfectly behaved specimens, and pretty soon we could probably even remove the thinking spot because actually, we’d nailed this parenting shit, clearly.
Then week three happened. Week three should’ve been my warning. Week three was the turning of the tide. Squabbles began. Just little shitty things, you know, over toys and the like. A bit of bossiness, perhaps some pushing (from the children, not me), but nothing too dramatic. I thought maybe we’d all spent a bit too much time together and needed to get back into the real world. It was just a bit of cabin fever. Life was still peachy. We could still be in a catalogue. No need to panic.
Then week four. Fuck week four, you dream-wrecking wanker. Week four was hello screaming tantrums on the driveway because the not-yet-two-year-old isn’t allowed to drive the car and goodbye bi-folding doors. Whatever had happened in that first week had gotten bored and packed its bags. Our house was once again filled with screams of ‘That’s miiiiiiiine,’ ‘Staaaaaaaaaaaapppp eeeeeeeett,’ and ‘ghdjghsiogsjgkghsfjhgf (aka that indescribable screech of whininess – it isn’t actually words that come out but a noise that makes steam come from any orifice available)’ and Mummy was DONE. Who needs crafts, calm and wholesomeness? The house was too clean, the kids would have become germphobes. They were probably doing me a favour. I was risking becoming too serene and too productive. No one wants a mummy like that. Mummies are made for saying ‘Don’t hit your brother/put your shoes on please/can we all just speak in our sensible, quiet voices?’ on a constant, caffeine-fuelled loop, aren’t they? Aren’t they!?
So, like the caring, altruistic souls
I we have raised them to be, the Monsters kindly saw to it that we came back down to reality with a bump. So intelligent and emotionally-in tuned they are, that they ensured we didn’t become passive in our parenting, forcing us to be active agents of discipline. That’s pretty damn impressive for two small, feral, mad-as-a-box-of-frogs wildings, I suppose.
Ah, well. Who needs bi-fold doors?