Andrea Mara

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In the confessional – when mediocre mums go bad

Some days just don’t go well. Every parent knows the kind of day. The day that chips and chips at your nerves, as tension builds, then finally bubbles over into something unpleasant. Today was my turn (we are taking turns, right?)

The problems started with the rushing. Because it’s the day the girls do gymnastics after school. And it never goes well. The three-year-old and I leave the house at 1pm, and spend the next three and half hours in and out of the car. We pick up the six-year-old, race home, spend eight minutes in the house (no exaggeration) doing a Wonder Woman-like change of clothes, then back into the car, snack in hand, to pick up the seven-year-old.

We race up to the gymnastics club, where the eldest gets changed in the car, surrounded by an audience of elbowing, snarking, too close for comfort siblings.

We race into the class, always late, always last. Then the small boy and I go back to the car, and I lock him into his car seat for the eight hundredth time (that one’s an exaggeration, but not by much.)

We drive somewhere, because sitting in the car is insufferable, and we roam in a random shop for ten minutes, then we drive back to the pick up the girls. We get home at 4.30, tired, cross, stressed and ready for bed. Except no, we have to do homework and make dinner. It’s not a day that ever goes well, but today was particularly bad.

The small boy wouldn’t get into his car-seat after first school pick-up. I cajoled, then got cross. If it wasn’t gym-day (or hell-day as I refer to it) I’d cajole for a bit longer, but we needed to get home for the Wonder Woman change. So I got mad, and he cried. He said sorry, and promised to do what he’s told from now on.

That lasted until the shopping trip – the pointless, time-killing shopping trip. He was playing with toys, and I needed to go to get the girls. He wouldn’t come with me. There was no time for coaxing. I picked him up and carried him out. He screamed and cried, I told him I was very cross.  There was no need to say it – he could tell from my voice, as could the dozens of staring customers. He said sorry, and promised to do what he’s told from now on.

That lasted until it was time to get him back in the car seat after gym, when we repeated the cycle, and then it lasted until he unrolled an entire roll of toilet roll in the bathroom, when we repeated the cycle, and that last until he wouldn’t sit down for dinner, at which point I lost it. I roared at him. In that horrible way that never helps and never makes you feel any better and makes everyone cry. He bawled. Of course he did. And worst of all, the two girls told me I was the best mum in the world and that dinner was the nicest they’d ever had – there’s nothing like being placated by two small kids to make you realise you’ve gone too far.

I hugged the small boy and said sorry for shouting. He hugged me back and said sorry too.

“I going to do what you tell me forever,” he promised.

I hugged the girls and thanked them for being so good. We went upstairs to play a game of doctors and hairdressers before bed – it never fails to calm everyone down, including me.

Ten minutes later, the small boy was trying to pull a box of loom bands from his sister’s hands (loom bands are having a revival in our house. Oh the joy.) I prized his hands off the box and looked him in the eye.

“Remember what we talked about? What did we say about always doing what you’re told forever?”

“I don’t know, what did we say?” he asked, and I knew by his blank look, that he had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.

Anyway, there’s a whole week to go till gym-day. He’ll probably be all grown up by then.

Blogs are for lots of things, but sometimes they’re just for confessing, and hoping for absolution from the universe.

the boy - office mum





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