Posts Tagged ‘mum’
I had a play date today with a mum who has a child the same age as DS (note, the mums had the play date, not the children). We saw a lot of each other last summer, when we were both suffering our boys waking ridiculously early thanks to the sun rising at 5am. I have memories of meeting my friend in coffee shops throughout August, both of us hollow-eyed and desperate, as we exchanged details on whose son had woken the earliest, aka how knackered we each were.
Anyway, today I asked how she was and she said something I think every mum of small children will relate to: “A little less desperate, thanks.”
And then, over a cup of tea and some chocolate shortbread, we devised the following scale of mummy desperation:
Top rung of desperation ladder: Child is either not sleeping or is waking way too early – and by that I mean 4.45am onwards. Mummy is gaunt, hollow-eyed, slightly manic, talking too fast, laughing too much and quickly conks out after one glass of wine. She has to pinch herself to stay awake on Al Khail Rd.
Middle rung of desperation ladder: Child is either waking only one or two times in the night or is waking for good after 5.30am. Mummy is knackered and trowels on the under-eye concealer and Clarins Beauty Flash Balm but, with two coffees, a good handbag and a fair wind, can convince others that she’s perfectly sane and not about to collapse, sobbing with exhaustion, onto her chocolate croissant.
Bottom rung of desperation ladder: Child sleeps through the night at least 5 nights out of 7, or wakes consistently after 6am. Mummy, although still chronically knackered and bearing battle scars from being on the higher rungs of the desperation ladder, feels like she’s taken amphetamines – she is invincible, she is unstoppable, she is Beyonce on stilts. She sees a hint of the possibility of having a life once more: Hobbies, a social life, maybe even some work. (It’s a beautiful thing but I’m sorry to say it doesn’t last long. I don’t think you’re home and dry till the child’s turned five.)
Some mornings, it’s like Groundhog Day in our house: Me, standing naked in front of the wardrobe, showered, makeup on, wardrobe doors open to reveal 780 outfits bursting out, whining to DH: “I’ve got nothing to wear.”
DH, of course, has a variety of replies that range from “Darling, you look good in everything” to “Oh for god’s sake, stop buying so much crap”, depending on his mood.
Sometimes he even takes a photo of me standing there naked to make me hurry up – trust me, there’s nothing like seeing your backside in the full light of day to make you get dressed quickly (I hope he never loses his phone!).
But what I’d like to share with you on this topic is this: At the ripe old age of 41, I’ve suddenly realised why I never have anything to wear, despite having two full closets.
It’s because I still buy clothes – beautiful clothes – for a lifestyle that I no longer lead.
My wardrobe is chock-a-block full of divine office clothes and glamorous evening-out clothes. I collect dresses, for example, like other people collect speeding tickets. I love them. I love the cuts, the fabrics, the colours. I buy them in colour blocks and in stripes; I buy shifts, gowns and sheaths; in linens, silks and shimmering satins.
And I buy high heels to go with them. Vertiginously high, strappy sandals by Vince Camuto, from Tod’s, and from Russell & Bromley. They’re beautiful shoes, delicately scented of leather. I know, because I get them out every now and then and I stroke them.
But do I wear them? The high heels and the dresses?
Hell no. I don’t wear them because my life – which consists largely of walking through deep sand in 45˚C to pick up two or three children, then slow-walking back through the sand lugging a couple of backpacks while holding on to a few sticky children – is not compatible with silk shift dresses and Vince Camuto heels.
What I need is a wardrobe of shorts, of vests and of flip-flops. But where’s the fun in buying those? That, friendos, I now understand, is why I have nothing to wear.
I sometimes think of my life as a champagne fountain.
And, while I’d like to imagine that means it’s glamorous, sparkling and pleasurable, the reality has nothing to do with fun and everything to do with the balancing act that’s required to stop the whole precarious creation from toppling.
I pack so much into my days, from 6am to 10pm, that there’s not a lot of room for leeway. Take out a glass in the middle of the fountain – in other words, sabotage a 12pm appointment by turning up 10 minutes late – and the whole day topples like dominoes.
Those women (and I know a few), who, when you ask them what they’ve got planned for the day, say “Oh, I might go back to bed after the school run”, or “Maybe I’ll download some more games on the iPad” – those women? We are a different species.
But other mums I know liken their lives to spinning plates on sticks – dashing from one stick to another to stop the whole lot from crashing down. I understand that because I once had it, but I don’t really feel it since I stopped working full-time.
Other days I see myself as a swan, gliding gracefully along a river with my head held high, but paddling like mad underwater where no-one can see that my little yellow legs are struggling against the current (do swans pant? I’ve been known to pant).
And on really bad days I see myself as a tiny little spider trying desperately to climb the inside wall of a wet highball tumbler; forever sliding back down to the bottom just before I reach the rim. But, to be honest, that only really happens on the days when I’m trying to have a civil conversation with our bank .
Some days, I wish I could count the number of times my children said, “Mama?” or “Mummy?” in that urgently questioning tone of voice. It doesn’t even matter if you say immediately, “Yes darling?” with a smile because there’s always a second “Mama?” right behind the first one.
Sometimes I feel like telling them they’ve got 50 “Mummy?”s a day and after that I don’t hear them.
Anyway, aside from the “Mummy?”s, here are the other things I heard a lot today. And hear every day for that matter:
“I HATE this. I never want to eat it again!”
“And I’m really not eating the red bits.”
“Mummy, I’ve really had enough.”
“I really don’t feel like fruit.”
“Mummy, I need a poo!”
“WHY do I have to do spellings? Can’t I do them tomorrow?”
And my favourite:
“Mummy? Huggee?” (that’s DS pulling my heartstrings).
And here are the things I find myself repeating like a robot:
“Sssh-sssh. What happened? Which bit hurts? Can you move it like this?”
“Why didn’t you eat your lunch?”
“I’ll have to throw it away. It’s such a waste.”
“Come on, let’s do your spellings.”
“Come ON! Teeth! Now!”
“NOW! Move it!”
“Listen to me!”
“STOP it! Leave your brother (sister) alone!”
And, on a positive note:
“I love you too. You’re my favourite (daughter / son) in the whole, wide world.”
Oh the joys. Feel free to add your own.