One step forward, two steps back
I really don’t mean to sound negative about parenting because, as I said yesterday, I would miss my little monsters terribly if, for example, they somehow got accidentally sold on eBay after a glass too many of that rather nice Soave I’m drinking at the moment.
And I do like being a mum.
But I’m a very efficient type of person. I grocery-shop with a list. I “target-shop” in malls. I walk fast. I don’t “wander” anywhere; I don’t meander and I never hover. I group my errands together for maximum results with minimal time-wastage, and I multi-task on the loo (don’t tell me I’m the only mum who puts on her bra and brushes her hair while doing the morning wee?).
Inefficiency, time-wasting, having to do things twice – these are things that make me foam at the mouth with frustration.
And one of the big things about parenting is that you often, all too often, have to do things twice. Every single day it can be one step forward and two steps back, 50 times over. It’s why I drink: By 7pm, after a day of thwarted progress and frustrated efficiency, a glass of wine stops me from running, screaming, into the desert with my knickers on my head.
But I digress. You want examples, right?
Case study: Dinner
Between each 50km school run on a Tuesday, I’m home for 90 minutes. I spend that time neither on the garden sofa with a cup of tea and a magazine nor horizontal in my bed, but sweating (and yes, I mean sweating as I have turned off the a/c for the winter perhaps a little prematurely) over a hot stove making supper.
Today I’ve invented a new dish that combines many elements that the children love. I’m confident, as I fry the onions and the garlic, steam the broccoli, wilt and chop the spinach, chop the smoked salmon, par-boil the potatoes, stand stirring the white sauce and grate the cheese, that it will be a new family favourite.
The children hate it.
DS cries. “It’s yucky!” he wails, spitting it out as if I’ve fed him dog pooh. DD is more diplomatic. “Mummy, I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but… I really don’t like it.”
I test them a bit, I push them; I galumph about the room in a huff, lecturing them that I’m not a restaurant, just a mummy, and that they should like it as it’s made up of all their favourite things. They love smoked salmon! I taste it and my pupils dilate it’s so delicious. I tell them that there’s no other option; that they’ll go to bed hungry. But no.
“Can we just have a bit of bread instead?” asks DD quietly, with big, hungry eyes. “With some hummus?”
It’s then that I realise I have to offer an alternative; that they are hungry and that they genuinely don’t like my self-styled potatoes dauphinoise au salmon fumé, broccoli et spinach.
DD gets Sunday’s left-over Tuscan bean stew with rice; DS gets a tomato and broccoli pasta from the freezer. I, meantime, get no time to write my blog as I’m preparing two suppers, and a step closer to opening the wine. Meh.