It’s not unusual for me once the kids are in bed, to be found on the sofa with a large glass of red, maybe pint of fosters or glass of Bombay if I’m feeling posh, reflecting on the day, wondering where it’s gone wrong and how I can be a better parent tomorrow and keep myself together. I’ll google positive parenting strategies which I vow to follow from now on but which go out the window after I’ve been exposed to Max’s prolonged whinge or Ella’s sinister tactics.
But after a lengthly chat with the hubby (chat implies it was a two conversation when his standard response to my parenting concerns is ‘well they are kids aren’t they’), I analysed what I am actually saying to my kids and at best it is possibly a bit confusing and at worst downright contradictory. Any of these familiar?
Lennon, Heidi and Polly eat all their veg/ sit nicely at the table/ go to bed sensibly.
Well I’m not Polly’s mum/ you don’t live with Heidi/Lennon’s older than you.
No of course we are not having McDonald’s it’s bad for you.
Eat up all those chips as there is nothing else until teatime.
Don’t pick up sweets of the floor and eat them you will have tummy ache.
Oh that’ll be right, eat it up quick (dusting down a dropped sandwich)
Please don’t hit your brother come and tell me if he keeps being silly and ruining your game.
Oh for goodness sake stop telling tales I don’t need to know your every move!
You must tell mummy every time you need a wee so you don’t have accidents.
Seriously you need another wee that can’t be right, are you sure?
Yes next time we will bring wellies to the park so of course you can go in puddles.
Get out of that puddle it’s been raining solid for over a week, now you are soaking, how silly!
We don’t eat chocolate first thing in the morning do we, come on, let’s be sensible.
This does obviously not apply to mummy. Or daddy these days.
That is not how we talk, speak kindly STOP SHOUTING!!!!! Pot calling kettle maybe??
First email since being a mum of three and the godawful prompt was an after school pick up when really I should have been ready to happily embrace them after not seeing the older two all day- and I really thought I was?! I was looking forward to seeing them and decided to take them to playtown for tea as Kev was painting.
First bullshit incident came when I saw how many bags of wet clothes Max had, my spares plus nursery ones, he must be chapped from pissing himself so much, what’s the issue with toilets in nursery??
Then I see his little face so excited and that lifted me thinking it was because he saw me, but no, second bullshit followed as he told me there was a dummy in his bag. He hasn’t had it for a week or asked for it, so I grab it and say it must have gone. Max screams that I’m a liar and I’ve taken it and to give it him right now before he gets really cross. I say maybe later and he screams rigid on the floor. I’m gathering up bags, lunch boxes and piss stinking clothes trying to put in my pram under the abandoned Penny then Ella runs out of nursery (hopefully with Aunty Sam?!) Max then finds the dummy in my pocket and goes mental when I take it back (if he has it now he has it forever) the head teacher gets involves and confiscates it and we walk (Max is dragged) out.
Step in dog poo on the way to car. Bullshit incident number three. Can’t count the rest, things snowball massively downhill.
Finally get in the car, say I’ve got a surprise we are going playtown for tea. Max screams he wants to have soup at home so we settle for soup at Nans and get Ella a portion of chips and some party rings (no standards it’s not even Friday).
Max falls asleep despite me trying to wake him up with ridiculous high pitched, desperate, false promises of no birthday presents. No wonder he doesn’t give a shit what I say. That’s bedtime f*****.
Get to Nans, Penny’s overdue a feed, not that she’s kicking off but need to get it in her as her next bottle is at 7 and she needs to take it all to get the most sleep out of her. No clean bib so we have to use a wet one covered in sick and snot. Hope it’s from today. Shout at Ella for eating her chips on the couch telling her she’s not an animal and to wait. Slight overreaction. Heat Max his soup up, cue screaming he’s not eating it he doesn’t like soup, Ella shares her tea while Max complains about everything as they both make me feed them while I’m feeding Penny the most disjointed feed imaginable. Then Penny has mass dirrhoea so her pants are ruined and vest a bit wet. She has the rest if her bottle with bare legs. No change of clothes packed in bag ready for such a situation, she’s the third child. Max is crying about his soup, don’t even know if it’s because he does or doesn’t want it, it’s all mixed in with the snot down his face and looks like someone’s punched him in the nose. No one is eating tea so I say to get down then in a mood I spill the tomato soup all over the table. I put Penny down (bare legged) on a cold floor to sort it out, grab the party rings off Max and say he’s only having one, we have a fight over the packet which rips open and biscuits come smashing out, me trying to get them out of the tomato soup screaming this was bloody ridiculous and the kids scrambling on the floor for broken biscuits like stray dogs.
They run off and I pick Penny up. Still in the damp vest and bare legs. I flick the heating on. Max shouts for Paw Patrol so I put it on then he screams he wants the ‘Alex giant’ one, thinking I may explode if I hear his whinge again I quickly try and put it on but press delete!! Wtf. More screaming then fighting, Max aggressively says to me ‘oh you stupid woman’ (potential direct quote from mummy’s road rage) more false threats from the harassed and slightly hysterical mother so the biscuits come back out, everyone on my knee fighting with each other watching ‘the wrong’ Paw Patrol.
Another accident by Max on my knee, a turbulent bathtime, then an anything but smooth transition to the car, I blast One Direction and they start singing like they don’t have a care in the world and I have to smile. Could be worse hey?!
Good news is, they break up for half term tomorrow.
After not feeling too sick for a few days I decided I need to get back into a routine with the kids and start eating healthier and doing more regular cheap activities. To combine this I made a plan to go to the health shop and then to the library to join with the kids. This would then become an activity we will do each week, which is free and educational.
So we get on the bus there (to make it more exciting) which is a lot harder than it looks with a 2 and 3 year old but we manage and get there and off to Holland and Barratts, Max screams all the way round and its full of peaceful health people who are staring at him clearly put out but I get the kids some snacks, get the hell out and think, could have been worse. We then get to the library. Again its not so bad, lots of nice talking to the kids in a high pitch voice about how amazing the library is, sit down and have a couple of stories, then my kids run off and I’m sat telling stories to other kids who are much more interested and generally nicer than mine. Ella then latches onto a grandad and his grandson (she’s gunning for granddads at the moment, in Jollies last week I heard a commotion, a given my kids would be involved and Ella is doing pileys on a 75 year old man who is just sat with his very sweet young grandson) anyway, back to the library, she sings over every nursery rhyme he is trying to read and copying all this 1 year old babies behaviour, crawling, grabbing books and throwing them and so of course Max joins in, both laughing loudly. We leave to register, each getting their own library card, Ella starts telling a woman behind us in the queue that her book is disgusting and so I grab our books to take home for the week and sharply exit. They both seem quite excited about this and I smile walking through the sunshine and nip to the supermarket for things for tea. Both acting like angelic children I think wow what a great afternoon, how lovely to be a full time mum in the sunshine, 18 weeks pregnant and feeling well again.
We get to the bus stop and realise I’d got a return for the X2 so had to wait quite a bit for the next one. The bus stop fills up fast and I start to panic. It arrives and we get on, Max screams to get down and I have to fold my pram as the bus is rammed and a sign says I’m legally obliged to do so (with shopping on and various snacks and crap in the basket). I manage it and squeeze us onto two seats with the pram under our legs and try and speak in my calm Im Out In Public And Don’t Shout At My Kids voice, making happy observations out the window, trying desperately to project the image that I have control of these children. I am calm and I am not mad to be pregnant with these two to look after. We see another kid watching Peppa Pig on an iPhone and I smile smugly to myself at how wholesome I am with my kids engaged in library books and eating sugar free snacks (in truth they would fight over the phone if I got it out and it would end up being launched at an elderly persons head that is why is still in my bag).
Then its the stop before mine. I try an act in control and pull Max off my knee and put together the pram, the bus is rocking me from side to side, Max falls off the seat, I try and pick him up shushing him and put him in pram while helping Ella stand without falling. Max screams and an almighty tantrum starts, he wriggles out the pram at the stairs where people are waiting to get off, the rucksack falls off the handles and spills out, the doors are opening on the bus. I still have my calm voice on, people are asking if I need help, to which I politely decline, I karate chop Max into his seat and smile saying I’m fine but thanks, get off the bus, bouncing Max down the step as the driver didn’t lower it to the curb, nob, the wheel brackets snap off my pram into the gutter, Max slides out the front of the pram in absolute rage. Ella then runs off to the pedestrian crossing and I just give in and say loudly For Fuck Sake. In front of old people. I then walk off, take a deep breath and smile to myself thinking, well serves you right for thinking you had it all under control in the bus you silly bitch. Then I realise the shopping is on the bus all the way to Preston. I could have cried. No tea for us (including Fudge who’s not eaten anything fresh for days) and more importantly no f****** array of nut butters, ground nuts, coconut flakes and coconut oil. Thats it I’ve had enough. What silly silly children, we are never going on the bus ever again you have ruined the day etc. I get in phone the depot, he phones me back and says he’s got them and he’ll put them on the next bus back to me, so a quick inappropriate tea of toast and crisps, bath and then walk to the bus stop to meet the driver looking like I’ve stepped straight out of Shameless complete with Ella with a nighty on and no knickers, saying she can’t hold her wee in and Max screaming to get back on the bus!! FML!!
Sat here writing Andy (from Preston depot) a thank you card and smiling at my nut butters, feeling for the first time in 4 months like I could murder a glass of wine. Think to myself I’ll go and have a calming bath and then realise that method if relaxation, my one salvation is out due to the bastard cervical stitch! So I’ll quit while Im ahead, have a shower and read my book in bed. Tomorrows another day . . .
Well, my ‘quality time with kids’ day started ok, Max asleep for nearly 3 hrs and had some bonding time with Ella. We then go out after lunch for walk up pier and round lake, Ella needs a wee an after looking at funland toilets decide to take her in bush where she wees on my jeans but hey ho. Then a quick drink and play at brewers and I think I have to get shopping, so I go to the supermarket against my better judgement as it’s close by.
The kick offs start immediately, screaming and hitting each other, Ella battering Max with her toy phone on his head, then saying hi to everyone which is fine but then Ella starts screaming ‘I will hit you’ in their faces, so back to the screaming at each other and I mean screaming to the point where everyone was staring at me, some sympathetically, others ranging from mild annoyance to absolute disgust. So we have to abandon half the shopping as it’s getting too much, rice cakes that I haven’t paid for have been thrown out the trolley, at people and crushed on the floor.
The check -out lad puts the closed sign on after I get to till and is so pissed off with their screaming he can’t look at me, clearly I’m not the best customer to have as your last one of he day, he’s in such a hurry he’s throwing the shopping virtually at me so I can’t keep up with the packing, again, Ella and Max screaming and being abusive to old people walking past. The rice cake pack doesn’t scan as they have ripped the barcode and so manager has to come over, cue dirty looks for consuming before paying. Then I finally leave smiling thinking what the hell has just happened.
I’m then packing my car up and my bottle of red wine smashes on the floor, the red seeping down the car park like blood, so again, everyone staring at me, this time as an alcoholic mum not just an incompetent one, and I just pick all the glass up thinking I can’t reverse onto this or I’ll burst my tyres.
Then get home and someone is half way across my drive as it’s bang on school time.
Motto of the story? Get the kids in nursery, as ‘quality time with kids’ days everyone just ends up in tears!!
Ps, had actually quite a nice day really before supermarket! Maybe motto should be ‘never go to supermarket with kids’. Ever.