If you think about it, the idea of Marriage is actually quite absurd.
Meet a boy, fall in love, have adventures, lazy Sundays; Make memories. Get married, settle down, throw a Toddlermonster or 2 into the mix and before long you can barely recognise yourselves.
“I really fancy you with poo on your neck, said no spouse, ever.”
What can prepare us for spending a lifetime with one person? What if your parenting styles don’t match? There’s no way you can possibly try before you buy on that front.
What if your career aspirations take you in totally different directions? What if one of you turns out to be a miserable sod? And what about those little foibles we all have? Be it a nervous cough, or the inability to cook, or a Dad-joke back catalogue which sees you cringe into your Daquari. All of which were sweet at first, but now drive you to the edge (or the Bacardi bottle).
It sort of like this: finally getting your hands on a once in a lifetime vintage Chanel bag. It’s gorgeous, frankly it’s love at first sight. It sleeps next to you, accompanies you to the best of occasions, you are frankly inseparable. You wear it proud on your arm, but the years roll by, and although it’s still your best most prized precious, the novelty has worn off. It’s been with you as you puke up in the bar loos, realising you are not 21 anymore and cannot drink more than a few glasses of wine. It’s been there during laughs and heated debates. It’s seen your best and worst, but now you have kids and their stash of essentials no long fits into your beloved Chanel. Weep.
Clearly there is only one thing for it: time to invest in a bigger and better, but I’m still in the marriage analogy, and upgrades are not part of this deal.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that being parents, AND keeping your marriage alive and kicking is hard. Really bloody hard. Navigating our way through life, raising humans and doing it together in perfect harmony is surely an unrealistic goal.
Maybe we should all get married in our mismatched PJ’s, 3-days-post-hair-wash and a seriously sadistic case of PMT. This realistic approach would set us up for the institution of Marriage a lot better than a beautiful unstained gown, a face of professional make up, a room full of people who are being kind and complimentary, all washed down with free flowing booze and food that has not been microwaved.
As my husband says ‘Teamwork always pays off’. I guess if you can still raise a smile to each other after 5 years of sleep deprivation and somehow fancy each other (occasionally) despite the extra pounds and hairy legs. If you can bring yourself to still be kind even when you really just want to drop the C bomb. If you can bite your tongue rather than criticise the way they staked the dishwasher. If you can still high-five the hell out of life…
If you can, then that’s good enough. That’s Love.
That’s my marriage with kids.
As many of you already know: I am a stay at home Mum. I think that phrase is a bit naff, but it does what it says on the tin (although I am allowed out occasionally…). I used to have a career outside of our home. But now we have 2 little girls, my career is here, in the middle of my family. All day. Everyday.
It’s like any job really: it has its ups- mostly when the bosses are out. No, not at the quarterly finance meetings, but at school and nursery. And it has its downs, like when I miss my weekly washing targets. The hours are slightly longer than I was used to, I seem to be in my office by 6am. But the commute is a staircase and dressing gowns seem to be acceptable office attire. The slight stinger in the tail is that the pay is shit, well, non-existent actually. My bonuses are now paid in kind; lots of snotty cuddles, kisses and the odd punch in the face. Don’t get me wrong, those are priceless bonuses right there for the taking. But they aren’t exactly a lunch-hour-Warehouse-dress-spurge are they.
So this Mummying thing is my profession now. A professional Mummy in my mind creates innovative organic meals, has a home which may as well feature in House Beautiful – a place for everything and everything in its place. The children must attend a host of clubs and after school jollies – ferrying around is quite high up on the JD. Weekends can be nothing but activates and socialfests as all of the house work can be done during the week… surely.
But somewhere I seem to have taken a wrong turn. This isn’t how my approach to Professional Mummying is working out despite my very best efforts to be a real life super mum and nail this job.
Muma Guilt has reared its ugly head once again. And not just guilt that I should be doing a better job at home, but guilt that I DO have all day everyday, to get my shit together, while so many Mumas work long hours on top the full time Muma gig – and seem to be doing a better job!
If I were to have an appraisal tomorrow, I would be issued with a disciplinary. I stopped and glanced around at the chaos that seems to have tied itself around me: my car is always a wreck. From chewed sweets to fruitshoots, abandoned items of clothing and half of shoe zone seem to have a magnetic force to our foot wells. Darcie actually decided that the undetectable smell in our car was in fact, Bum. Great.
It shouldn’t be this way. My car should smell like freaking roses, using tips I picked up on pintrest, during research on ‘How to avoid your car smelling like bum’, because that’s the sort of thing I should have time for. But I don’t.
The wash bin is always overflowing (should I introduce naked Tuesdays?!) even though I am at home all the time. Doing washing. And folding. And putting away. We run out of bread and milk, nappies and formula on a weekly basis – but never coinciding with the weekly shop and at crucial shit-explosion moments, or the breakfast rush.
I dish up ready meals, Ready meals!! I’m at home all the time. This shit is my job and I dish up ready meals. We never seem to have enough time (or calm) to fit in reading the school book every night. I should be devising word games and *crazy* maths challenges to get those intellectual juices flowing through my 5 year olds head. Instead we get our interior design heads on with their Sylvanian world, and cut up Kinetic sand.
I am getting better at remembering own clothes days and those super fun random music shows that the school seem to enjoy springing on us. Clearly the parental form of SATs. So maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps the first 5 years of being a professional parent is just your probationary period.
Any other stay at home mums feel this guilt?
- The louder you scream the more you shall achieve.
- The word Me should be included at the beginning and end of each sentence reinforcing ones importance.
- Eat with your hands: it’s quicker and you can lick them later for a little dinner reminder.
- Only Paw Patrol should be on the television. Anything else is simply an oversight by management.
- Pasta & grated cheese IS the ultimate dinner. Don’t be cute and mix it up: you cannot improve on perfection. I will only feed it to the dog. And smear it up the wall.
- Washing hair is an unnessesery torture occurring right in the middle of the most fun part of the day. Scream & then scream some more: Chase is surely on the case.
- The Park is the single most important destination goal of each day. Do not rest until you have been on the Weeeeeeeeengs.
- Closely followed by soft play: Nothing beats seeing management spat out by the foam rollers.
- Run, don’t ride. Why would you want to sit in a buggy when you could be running everywhere so much faster. Efficiency is key.
- Teeth are the most successful persuasion tool we have. especially on siblings.
Thank me later- I’m off to update the memo board on the back of my bedroom door – with management’s eyeliner.
Now, I don’t want to mislead you here. Let me define what I mean by Marriage break:
A whole week, well actually 8 days (yes that extra day makes all the difference in my holiday credits) is the amount of time The Hubs will be off duty for. Relinquishing Husband and parenting responsibilities. Lucky sod. He will in fact be skiing. I just about managed to type the word without displacing the keys. SKIING. His preparation for going on the trip was to cover his work commitments, and pack a bag. Can you even imagine the preparation involved if it was Muma who was up and leaving for a week. Co-ordinating the school runs, bed time routines, dinners, after school clubs, homework… you know the drill.
It just so happens that The Trip falls over Mother’s Day.
But this doesn’t bother me, not even a little bit. I’m sure the Guillian Sea Shell chocs are stashed in an accessible place for Darcie and Lila to TaDaaaaa them, at 6am on Sunday. Nice. I know there are several Mother’s Day cards floating around the house ‘Hapee Mudrs Dae’ blazon across them all. Good old phonics. I can barely read English anymore, I’m much better at deciphering PhonicTalk these days. So I won’t have the longed for Mother’s Day lie in, I’ll be up with the lark cooking up a feast of Nutella toast. But I’ll be feeling seriously lucky that I have my 2 gorgeous handfuls, happy and healthy by my side for the day. I might even get to watch 10 mins of a Saturday Kitchen episode if I play my cards right. (last count was 10 episodes on the Planner…ever hopeful.)
So there we have it, my marriage break; 8 whole days going it solo. I’ve got this. I’m actually looking forward to a little ‘time off’. A little bit of time to miss him. I think that’s a good thing, it’s been 8 years since I spent any time without him. He has been like an extension of me for so long that I’m keen to see if I CAN do it alone. I’m praying the girls are on my side with this and don’t spend the week pining for Daddy. I hate the whingeing, we all know toddlers and MiniMadams have A+’s when it comes to that. And mine can winge with the best of them. As long as I can keep that at bay without getting through too many boxes of Twister ice lollies…
Surely I can do this standing on my head?!
Toddlermonster proudly handed me her poo, as casually as if she was passing me her flannel or toothbrush. This was bath time last Thursday. Ordinarily I would have been a bit pee’d off that not only had I been handed an actual poo, but I had to then fish about for the extra bits in amongst the bubbles. Haul both girls out of the pooey contaminated bath water, before beginning the Getting Ready for Bed ritual. However last Thursday was not your average Thursday. It was the night before Hubster and I were escaping to Berlin together. Just together. For an entire 48 hours.
The trip was my birthday present. A present which would take very careful planning to co-ordinate one ToddlerMonster, our 4 year old young lady, an excitable Chocolate eating Cavapoo, (who was still recovering from having his stomach pumped after devouring a box of Dark Lindt) and an incontinent old cat.
Thanks to having very understanding and kind parents and willing Neighbour the plans were all in place. The bags were packed, school and nursery pick ups organised with Nanny. Cat food left, dog food and dog dropped off.
Blimey whatever happened to spontaneity?!
It’s just you, and it’s just me.
I had been so busy with the preparations for the trip that I hadn’t stopped and contemplated the fact that Hubster and I were going to have time. Just for us. We both love being parents, But we were a couple first and I strongly believe that taking a bit of time out to remember the reasons we became parents together in the first place is so bloody important!
I have to admit that I was a bit concerned we may end up doing nothing but chat-child and stare into the distance. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. We talked, with no interruptions. We talked about trivial things, things that don’t really matter. Things that we wouldn’t usually have time to natter about. We people watched, always entertaining. We ate our breakfast first; Before having to feed the girls and the animals. I used a small handbag – wet wipes wouldn’t have fitted. We laughed, a lot. Mostly because we were acting like loved up teenagers. We rode bikes! What the…
We put ourselves first for 48 hours and it was pure bliss.
Sure, we missed our brood, but the break from responsibility was like breathing really really fresh air.
I’ve come home really refreshed and really ready to be a Muma again. Meanwhile, our girls had a seriously fun weekend with their Nanny Chickens and Big Papa spoiling them with time and attention. Being granddaughters is a pretty big deal.
I’m really hoping the Bath-Poo incident isn’t going to be a phase. There’s no Berlin tomorrow to cushion that delight later.
If you are thinking of heading to Berlin below is a little directory of or trip…
Newly refurbishes, great cocktail bar, a spa and so central, surrounded by restaurants and bars.
Tip: Ask for a room with a view. We stayed on the 33rd floor and had the whole of berlin sprawled out in front of us. Its an extra 15E a night but well worth it. From the airport you can catch a direct train to within 100 yards of the hotel for 3.50E each. Bargain!
Checkpoint Charlie. There is a museum there called The Wall. It gives you a real life Snapshot of what it was like when the Berlin Wall was up during the ‘80’s. Cleverly done, it brings the history to life (essential for me!)
Topography of Terror http://www.topographie.de/en/ located at remains of The Berlin Wall, just a block from Check Point Charlie.
DDR museum – http://www.ddr-museum.de/en pretty small interactive museum. Beautiful location right on the river and below a great coffee / Crepe shop.
The Reichstag Building http://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/visits/kuppel/kupp/245686 we didn’t actually go inside but it’s pretty impressive to look at.
Brandenburg Gate Its super touristy, complete with entertainers (who aren’t hugely entertaining) but nonetheless it’s a pretty epic gate!
Block House Steak House http://www.block-house.de/block-house-restaurant-best-steaks-since-1968/?L=6 NOM NOM NOM! Gorgeous Steak! This place was packed with a queue out of the door by 8.30pm so maybe ask the hotel to book for you or get there nice and early.
There are lots of pizza and pasta places in the Alexander Platz area. We stayed clear of Schnitzels and Currywest! http://www.visitberlin.de/en/spot/alexanderplatz