Last night, I was sipping Prosecco and chatting with girlfriends (it’s where I do my very best thinking) and one them said something that made my control-freak, cray-cray, momma ears perk right up.
‘Sometimes, I just think we should relax and do it like the dads.’
I mean she’s right, right? How often do you see Dads hanging out, spending their social time yakking about how stressed they are? How full on it is? How they beat themselves up because the Small didn’t get their five-a-day? You don’t. You don’t see that because it doesn’t happen. Why? Because Dads don’t sweat the small stuff.
They don’t care whether teeth are brushed or whether they’ve got water in the bag, or snacks or toys. Often, they don’t even care about the bag (my husband’s left the house with a debit card and a nappy tucked in his back jeans pocket). They don’t care about food staining clothes, or worry about how many nappy bags they’ve got. All they care about is finding some stuff to do during the waking hours and keeping them alive until bedtime. A missed toothbrush, a dirty top, a plateful of Snickers for breakfast, lunch and tea do not register as stress-inducing, guilt-laden issues for the Dads.
So what if the Small’s face is so dirty, she’s become a human fly strip?
So what if the Small’s nappy is so fat with piss that she can’t even walk straight?
So what if she’s fallen into a deep slumber at 5pm?
Dads genuinely don’t sweat this shit and you know what? I’m starting to think that they both have a better time because of it. When I’m home all day with her, we dance around each other while I try and get on top of all the washing, or clean the bathroom while all she wants to do is spend time sticking crayons in my ear and blowing raspberries on the cat. I follow her around wiping whatever sticky, gooey mess she’s managed to get all over her hands while gently guiding her away from the walls, my jeans, the cat (the long-suffering cat) and the freshly washed, white bed linen.
I tell her five minutes until we can go in the garden because I have to tidy up lunch. On the other hand, Dad downs his washing-up tools immediately and says, “Yup sure! And how about we chew on some worms while we’re at it? Here, take the hosepipe on full blast and fill your teeny-tiny boots.” And off they go, into the garden, and have the time of their lives.
So, while I realise it isn’t always practical to abandon all our motherly responsibilities about keeping some stuff clean and making sure Smalls don’t eat stuff they shouldn’t, perhaps sometimes we could take a minute, calm the fuck down and do it like the dads?