I am waiting for my kids to come home. Not imminently for I am currently in the pub drinking. Not alcohol you understand, but a pot of tea. Not the coffee house tea; not the tea that comes in a pot that you can squirrel away in a mitten if push came to shove, but a great big, heat-preserving pot of tea that pours enough for four cups through a spout that doesn’t piddle it down the outside of the cup or even up your arm in the gravity-defying manner that only tiny chrome teapots can.
I have had 2 croissants to buffet myself against the storm of offspring to come. They came on separate plates (the croissants, not the offspring though I am sure that Royal babies are delivered thus and on a Duchy Original napkin) with separate jam and butter portions and a knife each. They thought I was ordering for two. Does anyone ever satisfy a meal-sized hunger with one croissant I wonder? Are those the ones that can get their jeans on? Clarity is emerging through a fog of chocolate and pastry now that I am no longer famished by the 14 minute walk into town. Though, playing devil’s advocate, a croissant fills you up as air would if it was dusted with icing sugar. Is that what a croissant is,prawn-shaped sticky air that someone’s thrown wafer thin pastry flakes at…and most of them have fallen off?
I deserved two…I have trauma coming. I need the sugar. They are returning from 4 days at Dad's!
Approximately 350 days of the year, I bring up three children by myself…without a break… without let up…without whisky or anaesthetic. They in turn, never get a break from me and my highly strung panics, leading to a month or so of box sets. They constantly have to eat food with absolutely no taste or thought put into it, and minimal preparation though despite this, it’s generally overcooked. The only thing I will say for myself is that they constantly complain about the amount of veg they are asked to eat in comparison to their friends. Tick. Good mother. They are getting at least 4 of their 5 a day in one sitting though that makes mealtimes less about togetherness, and more a collection of huffs, but I am secure in my good motheryness so that’s fine. I don’t usually stay in the huff for longer than 20 minutes in any case.
My children, have been, by and large…if not self-cleaning –then at least low maintenance. I’ve never had to use the guarantee. There was a broken wrist at one point but it really wasn’t a punishable offence so it’s unfair that they still blame me. I am forever being told how lucky I am, how I don’t know I am born, how spoiled I am that they are the way they are, and it’s not only the kids themselves that tell me so. For my part, I suspect that in order for them to have turned out this way, it took a certain amount of tantrumming, rule setting and expectation from me. (Should newly invented adjectives embrace a double ‘M’? It reminds me of this year’s Christmas concert where the chap behind me repeatedly sung ‘Seven Swims a-Swanning,’ against his will and became quite panicky and upset before finally saying ‘Aw fuck it!’ and embracing the new lyrics) It hasn’t been easy, being an Earth Mother. It’s a thankless job when no-one is telling them not to speak to their mother like that, or backing you up in any way butI have been, by and large, quite certain of my path. It’s the one thing that seems to come quite naturally to me, that I am confident in…boundaries. I have rarely doubted myself. But now, I seem to have hit a brick wall and it is scary.
I thought it would be all downhill from here…feet on the handlebars…feeling groovy. We were through unscathed. In the next 20 months, one then another will have left for Uni. I have got them through it. I am almost out of the thicket. True, the nipper has always been more of a handful and though the 15 momth gap between the elder two worked well, the 4 year gap between the younger two (in a Venn diagram my son would be in the overlap) was fabulous but only up to a point. That point is now. It’s nearly just me and her. Me and her…I know who’ll be in charge and for the first time in my parenting career, I suspect it won’t be me.
At my New Year's party this year, one blameless parent (let's call her Pam) saw her golden boy carried home unconscious due to an overlap in a Venn diagram being filled to the brim with undiluted whisky when he had promised only to paddle in a shallow end of shandy.Shall I tell you that as he eventually snored his way peacefully through the night watched over by shifts of folk who were supposed to be enjoying themselves, that
I Pam had an overwhelming urge to kick the shit out of him? Nah!
It’d make me her look bad.
Happy New Year!