Saturday, 28 January 2017
Being a mum is wonderful. Yes it teaches you about a love like no other and yes it is one of life’s greatest privileges - but let’s be honest, it’s also bloody hard work. It’s all consuming, requires an element of omnipresence and the pay and holiday entitlements leave a lot to be desired!
All is changed, changed utterly - to somewhat paraphrase (and completely take out of context) a wise fella. While life might never quite be the same again, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to be gained from our new found role. With that in mind, here is my own personal A-Z of motherhood.
A is for arguments. A daily occurrence about homework, putting underwear in the wash-basket, pokemon, who breathed on who, whose turn it is to pick something up off the floor and who left the top off the milk. The choice and subjects are endless and plentiful and require superbly honed and finely tuned negotiation skills. In the interest of maintaining some shred of your sanity, pick your battles - cos you can’t pick theirs!
B is for Basket, namely the wash one, virtually unrecognisable to underwear-wearing youngsters.
C is for cuts, from paper to impressive - all inducing the same levels of hysteria and convictions that the limb is unsavable
D is for dinnertime. That time of day when in theory we sit down together and have a chat but in reality mop up three glasses of milk, clean up a bowl of dinner that has just hit the floor and get called to deal with a bum that needs wiping.
E is for efficiency. It’s quite amazing how much you can achieve in a limited amount of time. From making your house semi-presentable in ten minutes flat because a visitor is on the way to scoffing as many cookies as possible because the kids’ antennae have gone up. Us mothers are masters of the apparently unachievable!
F is for forgetfulness, a new found state of mind. Why I did I go upstairs? Why am I sitting in a parked car outside my son’s Montessori on a Saturday? What are my kids’ names? Rather than feel defeated I prefer to view the latter as a descriptive vocabulary-enhancing exercise. “You with the curly hair, green eyes, girl child” etc has to suffice largely these days!
G is for goals, personal by nature and changing by the day. Monday’s goal is usually to have a good week with calm vibes and positive interactions. Friday’s goal is to get through the day without yet another banshee impression and counting down the hours to wine o’clock.
H if for hungry, which my kids always are, unless something suspiciously healthy looking is offered.
I is for infinite – the amount of patience required for the job!
J is for just about. My kids answer for everything from “Are you dressed yet” to “is your homework done?” Experience has taught me that “just about “really means, “I’m actually off doing something else other than that”!
K is for our king sized bed which feels remarkably small by the time the approximately 25 children have joined us throughout the night.
L is for love, which I never really knew the true meaning of before these little terrors came into my life.
M is for mouthguards, which seem to disappear into thin air in this house and whose disappearance I’m only ever made aware of, right before a match or training.
N is for No which my children seem to interpret as “lets ask her another 50 times and she might change her mind, or failing that, lets ask dad”
O is for obstacles, a mere challenge to be overcome for a walking wobbler, who audibly laughs at your attempts to keep him from danger and seem to prove much more fun than his mountain of toys.
P is for poo in its many colours, forms and textures. Just part of daily life and conversations now!
Q is for quiet which should always arouse extreme suspicion.
R is for robust which thankfully kids are. Bumps, bruises and relatively minor trauma is quickly and completely forgotten by them as toys, games and cartoons take over. We on the other hand beat ourselves up for the hours, days and weeks that follow!
S is for sleep. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha ‘Nuff said
T is for the toilet, the most likely place to find missing house-keys, mobile phones, toothbrushes, teddies and breakfast waffles.
U is for unexplained and suspicious looking marks everywhere. Is it snot? Crayon? Food? and please God let that be chocolate…….
V is for vegetables, depending on the kid, considered equal to offering them poison.
W is for wipes, a mum’s best friend that can clean anything and is the 21st century’s answer to spitting on a tissue.
X is for x- ray. The more kids you have, the more time you’ll spend in this department. Have your lead apron ready!
Y is for yesterday, when it feels like they were born. Time goes so fast and when school is added to the equation and you’re living by the school timetable, it seems to go even faster – unfortunately.
Z is for zucchini which is either a fruit or a vegetable and which I’ve never eaten but my six year old told me about it.
Monday, 9 January 2017
T'was the first day of new term
A scene that's well known
On the dining room table
The school books were thrown
The children were wailing
At the thought of the chore
While the parents were reminded
There's nothing they hate more
Than the prospect of Maths
And English aplenty
Spellings "as gaeilge"
Learning how to count to twenty,
The stand-off continues
Much longer than should
As the troops battled homework
As hard as they could
A project is mentioned
A twist of the knife
In an afternoon filled
With stresses and strife
And united all parents
In their heads scream so wild
"I hate homework more now
Than when I was a child!
Sunday, 8 January 2017
2017 has arrived and the Christmas holidays have drawn to a close. While the return to some semblance of structure will be welcomed, the return to morning madness, frantic searches for missing pieces of school uniforms, lunch-making and bloody homework means that my new year’s resolution to “live in the moment” will be truly challenged this week.
Looking at the long faces of my children last week as we took down the Christmas tree and packed away the decorations, I reminded them that they have so much to look forward to this year. I spoke to them of upcoming communions and confirmations, mid term breaks and zoo trips and the not too distant return of the longer evenings which means more playtime.
It was then that I had to stop myself. So much time is spent wishing away the now, believing things will be better at this time, that time, holiday time, weekend time and not enough time is spent appreciating what we have in the here and now. “You don’t have to wait until the weekend to have fun” I reminded my children. “Most of you finish school by 2:25, the evening is your own- if you just got stuck in and got that homework out of the way”.
Unconvinced by my reasonings, the usual protestations about the injustice of life and homework took place, so I persisted. I spoke to them about redirecting the daily effort that they put into complaining, into productivity. I reminded them that if they just focused they could get that homework done in a reasonable time and if they stopped killing each other mid-task they could also sort out their rooms in ten minutes.
“This year I want things to be different, we will enjoy our weekdays”, I insisted ever so slightly manically.
A call came from upstairs to say that there was a half-eaten teacake and the baby’s soother in the bottom of the toilet. For good measure someone had already pee’d on it.
As I fished the offending items from the bottom of the loo another call came, this time to tell me that the dishwasher wasn’t working.
I looked at the soother and tea-cake and thought about the mountain of dishes that would need washing by virtue of the fact that Chicken Tikka Masala was on the menu for dinner tonight. I figure there are exceptions to every rule and this must be one of them. This is not a moment I want to live in. I want to fast-forward to that moment, when at some stage this week hopefully, the repair man arrives!!