We’re not having a good day, us three females. I don’t know what it is, but we’re all crotchety and on a bit of a short fuse. We’re too bloody similar, that’s half the problem – even at a few months old I can tell that Moo is cut from the same cloth as me and Mouse, rather than having the wholly sweet-natured and gentle disposition of her dad.
On these days, the sheer drudgery and monotony of life with small people kind of feels like quick sand, coupled with a nagging sense of excruciating guilt because I’m not enjoying being a mum. Being a mum is a gift and an honour and it feels like a real weakness in character to admit that no, actually, today I just miss my old life.
I look at my phone and see a message from my husband. “How’s your day? How are the girls? Xx”
I thrash out my reply at lightning speed. “My day is fucking shit, I’m so sick of this. It’s exhausting me, I hate breastfeeding and I don’t want them touching me, all the time.” No kisses, for dramatic effect. No warmth from this quarter.
Then I hastily delete the words I’ve typed because I realise that if we have another broken limb incident (er, see this one for that tomfoolery) and Social Services / the Boys in Blue confiscate my phone and read my angry messages, they might bang me up.
“Yeah my day is ok. Just off to the park. Moo has done two big poos. How are you? Shall we get some wine for tomorrow night? Xx”
That’s better. That makes me sound normal, just erring on the right side of tired and downtrodden. I won’t put three kisses because then he’ll expect sexual activities.
5pm limps around like a retiring carthorse. My husband gets in at 5.23pm most days (I’ve calculated the average, I’m not even kidding) and if we get to 5.28pm I start to think he’s either dead, or he’s left me. His silhouette appears at the door and I’m on the starting blocks, ready to bestow upon him the fruits of his loins. “Here. Hold this one, and get that one out of my sight. She (I jab a finger in Mouse’s direction)…SHE is driving me mad.”
“Oh….” My husband flails around with a baby in the crook of one sweaty arm, trying to shrug off his backpack and unclip his helmet with his free hand. He’s got his cycle shoes on, he can’t even move up the hallway into the house proper. I have tricked him, dear reader, I have made him believe he was coming back to a Happy Home. “I didn’t realise it was that bad today? You didn’t say anything in your text about them playing up?”
“Yeah, well they sodding well have played up. I wish I was at work. I’d give anything to be at work.” Ooooh, my big balls statement which I reserve for one outing a week, tops, because I need it to be the c-word equivalent of threats and suitably loaded with malice.
I tell him I’m going for a pre-dinner shower and I’m not to be disturbed under any circumstances. I’m even going to put the lock on. “Would it help if I do up a bit of salad to go with…” he sneaks a glance at the oven to check that it’s on. “Er, with what you’re making us?” Alright, Flash Harry. You try it. Go on, you slice some tomatoes with a writhing infant pinned to one hip and a paring knife in your hand. “Yes. Yes it would help. Use up the radishes, they’re going woody. I’ll be half an hour, I’ve got to do my legs.” The Forestry Commission would be impressed by the rate of fauna growth on my pins, I think on occasion I’ve seen a pair of tawny owls playing peekaboo around the back of my knees (not a euphemism).
Inevitably Mouse bangs on the door claiming to need a wee, before I’ve even de-fuzzed one ankle. “Potty! Go in your potty. Where’s daddy? Daddy – find her potty!” Silence from the good ship daddy, I expect that salad is proving difficult. The door handle starts rattling. “Mummy I think it’s really coming out!”
I concede defeat, I’m not wiping up piss from the floor as well. In she comes. “Can I do your beauties mummy?” Beauties being the ritual of taking the detritus off my face with nice Micellar water. She likes to join in and point out all of my spots, and she tells me when I need to wax my moustache (“There’s fluff on your mouth!”). Not great for the ego, but she keeps me in check. “I thought your wee was coming out?” I ask. She twirls about on tiptoes. “No, I think it’s just really gone now. I don’t need a wee.” She fiddles with the hot tap in the basin and the water pressure in the shower judders.
“Right. Stop that NOW before I really lose my sh…rag.”
At 9.50pm, precisely 10 minutes before we usually decamp to bed, we manage to get Moo into her Moses basket upstairs. I stretch my legs out over my husband’s knees and we sit in a companionable silence, reading the whole Internet on our phones. What a lovely evening we’re having, all ten minutes of it. I feel like I’m making really good inroads with figuring out why Alicia Keys is quite so heartbroken, having followed one of those ridiculous Facebook links where you get a poorly written story in five word bursts diluted by adverts for eliminating belly fat. All that can be heard is Moo snuffling and farting over the baby monitor.
“I took a really sweet photo of Mouse blowing raspberries on Moo’s tummy earlier, look…” I scroll through my camera roll.
“Oh yeah, I need to send you the video of Moo squeaking at her reflection in the mirror.”
“Did you get the collage photo I did of them at the park yesterday?”
“Yeah, I’ve set it as my desktop wallpaper, I meant to tell you!”
“I don’t really hate them, you know that don’t you?”
“Yeah. I know.”
-SJW September 2016