Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

Posts Tagged ‘parenthood

21st century mum

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And for my next trick I’ll make a gluten-free, vegetarian lasagna while answering emails with my big toe

Last night, I fell asleep at 6pm, lying flat on the living room floor. Not even on the carpet: on the hard floor. I was in such deep sleep I didn’t know where I was when, 15 minutes later, DD said ‘Mummy! I’m hungry!’

‘You do too much,’ my mum tells me when I mention how tired I am come sunset. Well, getting up before dawn doesn’t help, but I don’t think I do too much: I don’t even work full-time. I do what most other mums do these days – less than what many other mums do – and certainly never a bean of housework.

When my mum was a stay-at-home mum, her main concerns were feeding the family and cleaning the house. She relaxed by listening to Woman’s Hour on the radio while she did the ironing. She was busy and she was fit but I doubt she ever felt stressed (well, not unless the pressure-cooker exploded, which did once happen. I still remember licking dinner off the walls while Mum hit the Christmas sherry).

So what is it that we 21st century mums do that our mums never had to do?

  • Make an effort to do some sort of exercise every day (because we’re not doing so much manual housework).
  • Try to keep up with some sort of career action.
  • Update and maintain a presence on social media.
  • Write a blog.
  • Produce packed lunches that contain protein, fruit, vegetables and healthy carbs but are free from pork, nuts, chocolate and anything nice.
  • Understand how to cater for play dates involving children who are vegetarian, vegan, lactose-intolerant, gluten-intolerant, pork-free, allergic to nuts, allergic to eggs and not allowed vodka.
  • Keep up with the news – not just in the one newspaper but via several different news sources.
  • Read and reply to emails. Can you imagine your parents getting 60+ letters through the letterbox every morning?

Does anyone else yearn for zero emails and long afternoons spent ironing with Woman’s Hour on the radio? Or is it just me?

Written by mrsdubai

October 15, 2014 at 4:23 pm

The School Communicator

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Over the summer, my children’s school has decided that it’ll no longer communicate with us via emails but using this fabulous new “school communicator” tool that we can all download to our computers, tablets and mobile phones. Hurrah!

"No darling. No hot breakfast today. Mummy's relaxing with the School Communicator."

“No darling. No hot breakfast today. Mummy’s relaxing with the School Communicator.”

Indeed, it seems like a great idea. You download it, sign up for information from whatever “channels” are of interest to you (whichever year group, school trips or extra-curricular stuff is relevant) and then receive up-to-date information delivered to you on the spot. Brilliant.

 There’s just one catch, as far as I can tell: alerts – i.e. pieces of vital information such as “the school is closed today due to earthquakes / floods / falling masonry” will not be sent automatically. For “alerts”, you have to click on the “Alerts” button (forgive me if I’m wrong, but this is what I understand from the school’s letter to us) – so the onus is on the parents to do that each morning.

Indeed, as the Communicator blurb tells us, we should “get into the habit of switching on your PC before school in the morning (while making a nice cup of coffee for yourself” (and click on banner ads to “support our advertisers”).

Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?

Perhaps because that hour from getting up, bog-eyed at 6am to kicking the children out of the door at 7.10am, is spent making packed lunches, checking PE kits, filling water bottles, cooking breakfasts, coaching tired children through breakfasts, cleaning teeth, helping pack school bags, doing emergency homework, signing reading diaries – oh, and getting dressed myself.

Do you seriously think, at 6am with two knackered children to get out of the door, I’m going to sit at my desk, turn on my computer and enjoy browsing through The Communicator “with a relaxing cup of coffee”, while clicking on ads to support advertisers?

Seriously? What planet do these people live on? (One without small children to get to school by 7.30am, clearly).

Written by mrsdubai

August 31, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Words on love from a daughter

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“Mummy? Will you always love me?”

Altogether now... Knock Knock?


Folding her into a whole-body hug: “Yes, darling, I’ll always love you more than you know.”

“Even when you’re old?”

“Always, darling.” Big hug.

“When I get married?”

Sob. “Yes, I’ll cry with joy when you get married.”

“Will you still love me when you die?”

“Yes, darling, you and DS will be the last things I think of when I die. But that’s not for a long time.”

“Knock, knock.”

“Who’s there?” (Giving big hug)

“You’ve forgotten me already!”

Bloody kids.

Written by mrsdubai

January 29, 2012 at 9:00 pm

The frustrations of motherhood

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Obviously we mums love our kids more than anything. DD and DS inspire in me the kind of love I never thought possible before I had children; that sort of tigress love, where you know you would do anything – and I mean anything– to keep your children happy and healthy.

We've all been there

But that doesn’t mean to say being a mum doesn’t have its frustrations. Here are five of mine:

          Having to shout “Sorry? Say that again?” down the phone 25 times in a two-minute phone call because both your children just have to speak to you at that one exact moment when you’re on your only phone call of the day.

          Finding and paying over the odds for imported yoghurts only to have the children open them but not finish them.

          Wanting five minutes to do something with your hair and makeup before going out for dinner, only to spend those precious few moments reading a third bedtime story as the taxi hoots outside.

          Running around with forkfuls of food after a toddler who won’t sit in a high chair yet is still too little to sit still at a table either (yes, this is DS right now).

          That moment when your littlest one calls you at 5.45am on a weekend morning and you know you won’t get any more sleep for at least another 17 hours.

Would love to write more but I’m going to take advantage of the children being in the park with Gerlie for five minutes to try and do something with my hair before going out for dinner….

Written by mrsdubai

September 18, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Mummy gets ready for The Ivy

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The children don’t know that I’m going out. I try not to let on. We get through dinner without a major hitch – unless you count them both refusing to eat the “oaty banana crunch” I made (standing over a hot pan while I toasted the oats in honey, made the custard and mixed it carefully with natural yoghurt and sliced banana to make a layered dessert served with a long spoon in a tall glass) – yes, unless you count the rejection of that, which I didn’t take personally, we get through dinner okay and are heading calmly upstairs for bath time when it all goes wrong.

DS takes a handful of Cheerios upstairs in a bowl. He drops it. DD swoops in and scoffs the Cheerios off the floor.  DS goes ballistic. Ballistic in the way only a two-year-old can manage. It’s the stiff body, “please breathe” type of screaming. I – thinking of my taxi arriving at the door in just 45 minutes – feel my temper – already ragged through sleep deprivation – snap.

“WHY did you do it? WHY? Can’t you SEE he’s only two? Don’t you UNDERSTAND that he’ll go crazy if you eat his Cheerios? Why don’t you just ASK ME for some? WHY do you upset your brother SO MUCH? Do you LIKE seeing him scream like this? Look at him! He can’t even BREATHE!”

I kick a toy bus across the room. It feels good. I kick another one out of my way, realising only as it launches that I really don’t want to damage the plantation shutters.

Why me?

DD looks horrified. She’s never seen me this angry. DS is screaming in the bathroom.


And I’m thinking: What happened to those evenings when preparing for a night out involved a candlelit bath, a glass of champagne, a layering of perfumed products and a delicate application of my newest makeup? How come I’m reduced to screaming at the kids when I should be touching up my makeup and teasing my hair? I haven’t even thought what I want to wear beyond the fact that I don’t want to wear what I thought I would wear.

DS won’t get in the bath. I strip him and dump him in it. He won’t sit down. He stands up screaming hysterically so I wash him standing up. He screams louder. My head’s pounding; I feel like it’s going to burst a blood vessel. DS still looks horrified. She cooperates silently, with big eyes.

“Sit down!” I bark at DS.

“Get-out-get-out,” he yells. “Wanna get ooooouuuuut!” He lifts his little leg over the side of the bath.

“Sit DOWN!” I snap. “You are NOT getting out till you’ve SAT DOWN!”

I pass him a cup of water and he places it to his lips and sips through his sobs. The screaming stops. I lie on the bed, drained, and listen to them. DS has recovered. The tantrum’s over as quickly as it started. All’s forgotten. DD is teaching DS a song and dance routine. I peek in the bathroom mirror – they’re both dancing in the bath like nothing happened.

“Sorry I shouted, darling,” I whisper to DD as I get her out. She hugs me. “It’s okay. Sorry I took his Cheerios.”

We have some cuddles downstairs before the hurdle of tooth-cleaning, then it’s bedtime. DS likes a story or six. We cuddle on the sofa in his bedroom and I read him Hide & Seek. Then Spot Makes A Cake and Spot at the Park. I’m so aware of the time I’m having palpitations.

“Okay, bedtime,” I say, but he wants “Christmas” – a book about Santa. And then he wants The Hungry Caterpillar. It’s 7.15pm. I’ve still got to say good night to DD and get ready, and the taxi’s booked for 7.30 – though I know he’ll be here at 7.20.

You’ve never heard anyone read The Hungry Caterpillar faster. Light of the moon, egg, sun, caterpillar, hungry, one apple, two plums, three whatever, four strawberries, five oranges, ice cream, cake, pickle, cheese, sausage, whatever, cupcake, melon, tummyache! Not hungry, not tiny anymore – biiig – biiig cocoon, and out popped a butterfly. THE End.” Butterfly is probably the only word I read at a normal speed.

DS gets another hug and I creep out before going to say goodnight to DD. She hugs me tight and I walk into my bedroom and open the wardrobe.

The phone rings. The taxi’s outside. I’m in shorts, a vest, flip-flops and melted makeup, and I have humidity-hair that smells of the salmon fishcakes I made for the children’s dinner. “I’ll be out in five minutes,” I tell the driver.

“Muuu-mmeeeee!” DD calls me loudly enough to disturb DH. Her neck hurts. She “can’t lie down” it hurts so much.

“You HAVE to lie down, “I say, thinking – why me? “You can’t sleep sitting up. You’re not a horse. Choose the way it’s most comfy and PLEASE lie down.” Please? I check her forehead for a fever, thinking meningitis. No fever. “There. Is it better now?” She nods, I give her one last hug, throw on jeans and a silk blouse, swirl some blusher round my face, slap on some lip gloss, brush my hair, squirt some perfume, throw the baby monitor at Gerlie and run out of the front door in heels the wrong colour for my bag.

The Ivy? Was it worth it? I’ll tell you tomorrow.

Written by mrsdubai

June 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm