Wake up to the dulcet sounds of the youngest one screaming for ‘milky’. I have two options:
a) get up, get milk, heat milk, give milk and resume sleep
b) ignore her and hope she’s tired enough to give in before she wakes her sister up
There is of course secret option C: kick Jimmy and tell him it’s his turn because I’ve already been up with her twice. That’s not true but he sleeps so deeply he’ll never know.
I go with option A. Path of least resistance and all that…
Woken up again. An emergency situation involving the cat, his penchant for puking and my new 600 thread count sheets. I can’t send my kids to live anywhere else, but the cat on the other hand…
Eldest runs in wearing a Wonder Woman costume and demanding some of Daddy’s birthday cake for breakfast. I tell her no. She immediately throws herself on the floor and screams about how shit life is. She doesn’t use those exact words; I’m paraphrasing, but we can all relate.
Both girls have eaten. I say ‘eaten’. It’s a term us parents use to describe the act of decorating the kitchen with Weetabix but you get used to employing euphemisms to make your life seem less fucked.
The cat’s been glaring at me since I came downstairs. I swear he can read my mind and right now, after finding a pile of cat puke on the freshly ironed laundry all I can think about is RSPCA.
In a world where life isn’t punctuated by FMLs and #lifefails, we would be in the car, on the way to school. The eldest would be wearing a freshly ironed uniform and carrying a packed lunch filled with kale sushi and green juice. We’d be happily practising phonics and chatting about how things made us ‘feel’. In reality, the youngest is naked and chasing the cat around the room with the horse from Buckaroo. The eldest is prone on the kitchen floor still pissed off that she can’t have cake for breakfast. I tell her that if she doesn’t get up and get her uniform on I will ‘feel’ like cancelling all playdates/birthday parties/trips to the park for the foreseeable future.
Give the eldest cake for breakfast.
Made it to the car and neither child is crying. This is a win. Take a minute to savour the moment and congratulate myself on even remembering to make a coffee to take with me. Spill coffee down my top.
Get to school. See all ‘WhatsApp’ group mums and hope they don’t ask about the PTA again. Easy to ghost them virtually but the people pleaser in me will cave and offer to run the fucking thing if they ask me in real life and face to face. Thankfully (or perhaps not) the conversation is about some weird drug that looks like strawberry popping candy that’s being handed out around playgrounds. I make a joke about letting me know if they find any because I could really use a pick me up.
Resolve never to make a joke again.
Return home. Cat still giving me the shit eye.
Decide to start work just after I’ve done a few ‘cleaning bits’. Three clean bathrooms, two changed beds, four organised cupboards, some vacuumed and mopped floors, three loads of laundry and an ironing session later, it’s time to pick up my eldest. Guess I can work tonight, you know, after dinner, bath, bed, clean up and before my mental breakdown.
Eldest emerges from school looking like an extra from 28 Days Later. She’s in a walking coma which is good because my youngest has gone all exorcist as I’ve requested that she stay in the buggy for 2 minutes and 41 seconds. Try to ignore tantrum thinking that she really must learn to be ok with being in the buggy but finally throw a bag of Pom Bears at her. Less exorcist now and more Hannibal Lecter with a buffet of offal but at least she’s quiet.
Eldest: “Mama can I have cake for dinner?”
Me (inside voice): “Fuck off”
Me (actual voice): “If you eat all your dinner and have a piece of fruit then, sure, you can have a small piece of cake.”
Eldest: *loses her shit*
The TV went straight on when we got in, ostensibly so that I can cook dinner without them causing mayhem but actually so that I could enjoy the relative quiet that the TV coma induces. Stopped to think briefly about screen time but decide that, on balance, it’s less damaging than throwing the kids out of the window.
While they watch Paw Patrol, I sneak an episode of Real Housewives of Bumfuck Nowhere in while cooking dinner. After all, frozen pizza and chips doesn’t take THAT much thinking about.
Cat is still being a dick.
Fuckety fuck fucking shit balls. I’ve burnt the pizza which would be fine if it wasn’t the ONLY thing in the goddamn house that they’ll eat. In fact, it’s more or less the only thing in the goddamn house at all which means that they’ll have to have Weetabix for dinner.
Kids are delighted with Weetabix for dinner but slightly confused by the cucumber I’ve put on the side, you know, for something ‘green’.
Pre-kids, I had this notion that ‘bath time’ would be this whimsical period of the day where we all sink into a quieter state of being and start to relax as the day’s stresses and strains melted from our buoyant souls. I imagined air fragrant with lavender, kids rosy cheeked and surrounded by mountains of bubbles. Perhaps we’d sing a song or two?
Reality: emergency evacuation from the bath required because the youngest has done a shit in the water. Eldest crying and wiping her naked body on the rug to get the ‘baby stink’ off and youngest sat in shitty bath (complete with EVERY bath toy we own) while I contemplate how to figure this out. Less lavender, more public toilet and less songs and more screaming.
Kids in bed. Eldest still muttering about poo being EVERYWHERE and how her younger sister is ‘such a pain in her life’. Eldest crying because I’ve finally decided to ditch the baby bottles and she’s royally pissed off about it. She’s showing her displeasure at the situation by banging new, deeply unacceptable, bottle on the wall repeatedly and screaming, “milky mama milky mama milky mama” at such a volume I’m pretty sure they can hear her on the international space station. They can definitely hear her next door because they’ve already been over to ask me if I can stop banging on the wall. “Me? Do you really think it’s me banging on the wall? At the end of the day, do you really think the first thing I want to do as soon as the kids are asleep is start bang on the fucking wall?”
On reflection maybe they thought it was my head. They’ve got a point.
Return to kitchen to find cat eating the burnt pizza. When I shoo’d him off the counter, I swear I heard him mutter ‘fuck you’.
Spend next thirty minutes scrubbing every bath toy.
Spend the next hour cleaning the kitchen, tidying up toys, sorting laundry and ironing uniform.
Remember that this is the time I allocated for ‘work’.
Settle down to work while seriously questioning my life choices.
Cat noticeably absent.
Shut down computer and decide to go to bed.
Actually get up off the sofa after falling down the Instagram/Twitter/eBay hole and make my way to the bedroom.
Discover cat has puked on bed.
*lose my shit*
Change bed and crawl in with a face full of make up, Weetabix in my hair and an Octonauts sticker stuck to my arse. Read three and a half sentences of my book before passing out but manage to adjust slightly so that I can spoon the cat and make a conscious nod of thanks to the powers that be for my family. They may be dickheads, but they’re my dickheads.