Friday, 18 September 2009

A Morning in the Life of a Mother

Before I had kids I had, like a lot of people, ideas about what it would be like and, most of all, what it WOULDN'T be like.

I would never shout.

I would never let my kids eat crisps before noon or, in fact, before a 'reasonable' age.

I would ALWAYS be fair and consistent - even after 3 hours sleep and whilst poorly.

I would never let the TV babysit them.

I would spend hours crafting beautiful sculptures with them and doing jigsaw puzzles.

I would always model behavior that I wished them to inherit.

I would take time to explain everything carefully and fairly and never give into demands for an 'easy life'.

I would in fact (it appears in hindsight) be super human.

Whilst pregnant with my first, I envisaged a scene where I wafted from my bed around 7.30am, swept downstairs in my Cath Kidston-esque nightgown, laid the table, served up some Bircher Muesli (I don't actually know what Bircher muesli is but it sounds a step up the ladder from common-or-garden Alpen so we'll go for that one) or perhaps even freshly griddled drop scones I had just whisked up which would be gobbled up by my ADORING and grateful children.

Everyone would get dressed into their beautiful clothes and we would skip off down a flower strew path to school........ If we were staying in then the house would be a serene, neutrally toned oasis of calm with children happily engaged in crafts and learning activities.

I hadn't got an effing clue.

You can try your best (and I certainly do) but sometimes this thing called life gets in the way. And sometimes in life stuff like sickness and grief and tiredness and well just, STUFF, gets in the way.

Here is today's reality:

Yesterday (whilst in the middle of a tutorial) I got a call from the school to inform me that my son has had an accident and needs collecting asap. Having suffered near heart failure over this news it turns out the accident is actually an explosion of diarrhea of proportions too immense to discuss. Poor kid. Poor teacher. Poor mummy.

This means that today I will be in the house all day, with no way of getting out, and two sick (yet still highly active) children.

My day does not start at 7.30am (as per my dream). It starts at 3am when the toddler starts screaming for a drink.

Having got him a glass of water he then precedes to demand that every Iggle Piggle in his cot (there is an array of Iggle Piggle's in varying sizes) also had a sip. And his rag. And Iggle Piggle's blanket. And a car. And a book......... Having fed and watered the five thousand I get back to bed but not really to sleep until about 5.30am when, having just drifted off, I am woken by some kind of ear bleeding screeching and the crack of splintering wood.

Son 1 has climbed in Son 2's cot and they are 'doing a rock band'.

The thing is, I haven't actually got the energy to get up, let alone deal with it in a calm manner 'modelling desirable behaviour' - so I just lay there and screech 'STOP IT! STOP IT NOW! DON'T MAKE HIM CRY! DON'T MAKE THE BABY CRY!'.

My husband snores through the lot (!?).

The children 'play' in the cot for quite some time until the older one decides to fetch a duvet and turn the cot into a 'cave'.

This actually means putting the toddler under the duvet and pinning him in the dark 'cave'.

Funnily enough the toddler doesn't like this.

At this point we have to get up. I am not wearing a glamour-puss nightwear (as per my dream). I am wearing an odd vest thing seems to finish several inches below the crucial area that needs covering and a pair of old leggings.

Come downstairs (it's not yet 7am and I am all too aware I have 12 hours to get through with no let up until I can put them back to bed) and try to sort out breakfast. Only there is no food and I can't take my ill, contagious, children to the shops and buy any bread (let alone Bircher museli) or other such vital items. Oh.

The children have chocolate muffins for breakfast, shortly followed by Skips.

My inner 'perfect mother' is spinning her grave. I take a deep breath and put the tele on - knowing it will remain on all day.

This keeps them calm for a short time before the older one declares the house is 'very messy' (yup! Wonder how that happened!) and fetches a broom. He starts trying to jab the broom at the ceiling and I end up shouting. He diverts his attention elsewhere and with minutes he's yelling at his brother 'come here so I can clean your teeth' and is attempting to do so with the aforementioned broom.......on the stairs.......

The broom is now on top of my kitchen cupboards.

At this point I need to take some stinking nappies out to my dustbin as I can't tolerate them in the house any longer - so barefoot and clad in my nightwear I make a dash for it, only to see my neighbour approaching just as I reach the half way point down the path. I dash back inside. Coast clear - off I go again, another neighbour appears. And so it goes on - I end up doing a sort of 'dirty nappy, mangy nightwear' shuffle up and down my garden path until I finally get the nappies in the bin. I honestly don't know what I'm worried about - they've seen me in worse. They've seen me in less. When my second son was born they all saw me in nothing but a blood soaked NHS blanket. With holes in.

I re-enter the house and my eldest son turns to me and informs me that sometimes people think his mummy is a vicar.

I am more than slightly stumped by this. Perhaps he's heard me utter the words 'for the love of god!' one too many times...... I could drill him on the matter and ask for further details but I choose not to. Some things are perhaps best unsaid and let's face it - there is (probably) worse things to be mistaken for than a vicar.

The toddler starts screaming from the kitchen. He's thirsty but is now at that age where he wants to do EVERYTHING himself - even if it involves lifting a 6 pint flagon of milk, taking the lid off and pouring it, entirely by himself, into a tiny plastic beaker. And if you try to help him or assist in any way it sends him into such a rage that he starts to smash things.


The phone rings. It's a complex call about our mortgage involving lots of writing down of long numbers and codes. During this the toddler (who still hasn't got his drink) reaches such depths of rage that he starts to fling Lego at me. Forgetting that I'm not talking to my mum or someone who reads my blog I yell at him 'to STOP IT NOW!'. The man on the phone is shocked - he thinks I'm talking to him. I have to explain that 'sorry the kids are chucking Lego at me'.

'Oh' he says.

Oh indeed.

Call finished, the phone rings again. It's some awful woman pretending to do a 'crime survey' whilst flogging alarm systems. I tell her to leave me alone - doesn't she realise! People in my house have diarrhea!! She hangs up.

During the call the toddler has tunnelled inside the clothes airer and manged to get his head stuck between two of the rungs. As tempting as it to leave him there, I need it for the laundry so I free him.

Finally it's lunch time! I'm half way to bed time!

The toddler is now asleep (having once again fed and watered all the Iggle Piggle's and sundry items in his cot) and I am blogging while the older one watches a programme about volcanos whilst pogoing up and down on the sofa re-enacting a pyroclastic explosion.

And that my friends is the myth versus the reality of what it can be like being a mother.

Now where are those drop scones I was whisking up earlier......;)


  1. thanks everso on the most entertaining thing i have heard read or had thrown at me today and i havent got young kids...just over 75's who still behave like spoilt bratts wanting life and everything in it to go their!!! no !!! lifes not like that so thanks from the bottom of my giggles for brigtening my day...hugs sassyxxx

  2. You make me so glad I haven't got boys! Before I had a baby, I used to dream about all the lovely organic food I would lovingly prepare. The reality is that my toddler refuses to eat anything at all, so I find myself pleading with her to 'just eat one more chip'.

  3. Oh the joys of motherhood! The only thing I stuck to was not letting my son have a dummy - so he used to stroke my ear instead! The rest of the "I won't be like my mother, I'll never say/do that" went by the board. Life does indeed get in the way.
    Hang in there - it does get better, I promise!
    And thanks for making me laugh out loud - much the consternation of my son - he leaves for Uni tomorrow - yippee!!!!
    Sue xx

  4. I love you. Truly I do. You are ace. M xx

  5. PS: My husband loved this so much, he's tweeted about it on Twitter. :D

  6. Another great read,I almost feel as if I'm in the house with you.
    You should write a book, once all the smelly nappies are over though:)
    Anne x

  7. :D :D :D

    Thanks everyone - and wow Mim! I am seriously flattered and happy your OH has tweeted about me!!! Lol!!!

  8. Incredibly accurate. With 2 boys around the same ages as yours, it's like you were looking through my window (minus the diarrhoea, thank God).

  9. CBeebies is, beyond a doubt, the FINEST THING IN THE WORLD and worth every penny of the licence fee.

    I'm sure ours picked up her love of football kicking from Timmy Time.

  10. I hear ya. I had to stop my mortgage phonecall halfway through on Wednesday as 4-year-old was smothering the baby with a cushion. Happy days.