Mummy swept into the playground; clutching 4 bags, a toddler; it’s favourite ‘bunny’ and two brown envelopes; money for the school trip and that week’s dinners. Her face is set in unyielding lines; a barometer of that morning’s stress there for all to see. Toddler is scraping the toes off it’s shoes whilst alternating it’s feet and dangling off Mummy’s arm in the process. Mummy’s grimace does not go unnoticed by her ‘alternates’ who connect eyes; offer exaggerated eye rolls combined with tut and just 3 words; ‘shit start love?’. A nod will suffice; each knows that even that micro-gesture is all Mummy can afford, whilst battling to prevent her arm being wrenched from the ball-in-socket joint of her shoulder, by said toddler.
The marching Mummy’s all stick rigidly to their agenda; get offspring to where they must be, with what they require, on time, safely and with limited admonishment. For all Mummy’s know that to lose their temper will only result in a full-day of ‘guilt’; soul-destroying hatred of oneself for failing to deliver; in more ways than one.
On a good day this highly efficient Mummy will manage to smile broadly, perchance allow the toddler to run-a-little, to enjoy the freedom of a dry day in a quiet playground. But today is not a good day. Mummy has spent since 2:32am in bed with the toddler who woke after saturating the sheets due to a badly applied nappy. She changed the wet arse, the bed and then spent fifteen minutes in a cold, dark room soothing the toddler, in the vain hope she’d go back to sleep in her own room. This wasn’t happening so with a ‘dead’ buttock and the beginnings of Raynaud’s in her foot she hauled the toddler into her own bed which was by then cold; like her heart.
The Toddler was then really wide-awake, asked for a drink, some chocolate and wanted to watch Cinderella. Mummy resisted with kindness and commenced face stroking; manually closing the eyes with ever-increasing firmness. Eventually the toddler was asleep, lying horizontally across the two pillows with it’s nappy-wrapped bottom firmly pressed again Mummy’s nose. The rest of Mummy’s body was twisted backwards with one foot providing stability on the floor. Mummy dared not move. Experience told her to wait at least another thirty minutes until ‘rapid eye movement’ had been witnessed. Then Mummy can attempt to find a better sleeping position. Mummy is very pleased with herself as by 3:45am she’s finally found herself a perfectly comfortable place. Wrapped in her dressing gown; face pressed up against the dressing table but with the bulk of her body languishing on the mattress she breathed a sigh of relief! At this point the toddler changed position.
At 5:34 Mummy had no choice but to heave her 3 stone toddler up and transfer her into her own bed. Mummy feels strong; like Britain’s strongest man but without the sweaty beard and bulging veins.
By 5:57 Mummy is sleeping; like a baby. Safe, warm, comfortable and perfectly at peace.
At 6:30am; precisely 33 minutes later Mummy’s alarm went off.
Mummy then spends just over an hour cajoling the toddler and older child out of bed. In between the coaxing Mummy had showered, had a very quick morning ablution and got the breakfast things out (oh and eaten 2 ‘Freddo frogs’. God told her to;she needed the burst of energy). Toddler is refusing to get up and is making a high-pitched whiny noise because ‘I tired…’. Older child had sensed Mummy’s rising blood pressure so to compound matters and presumably because she’s wants to see her dead has now put ‘Bohemium Rhapsody’ on her Barbie CD player. Toddler is incensed at this and is now chipping the paper off her bedroom wall with ‘Zazu’ from the Lion King. Mummy then charged like a mentally unravelling wart hog into older child’s room and skilfully turned off the CD player with her fist. Older child then displays behaviour more akin to a tranquilised baboon and is bouncing off the wall’s with fury at how ‘it’s not fair…’. Mummy is ready to ‘blow’ but is saved by a fleeting memory of a time gone by when she cradled her pregnant belly and nurtured the beautiful life within. A time she rejoiced in each kick and jab; a tiny reminder of the dream she long held since childhood to be a ‘Mummy’. Upon reflection those teensy movements were in actual fact pretty aggressive and perhaps a sign of what was to come. No matter, Mummy has got her ‘game face’ back on and has promised small child and toddler a ‘Freddo frog’ if they come downstairs and at least pretend to eat their cereal.
In the kitchen Mummy is back in control; Queen of her domain, tossing handfuls of cereal; like a boss into yesterday’s bowls she’s not had time to wash, but has chipped the worst off. At this point she even manages 2 sips of a cup of tepid tea and thanks the Lord Almighty for throwing her this puny bone. Time was upon Mummy but she never wasted even a second, even as she applied way too much blusher, whilst pouring milk into the children’s bowls and a little across the table which then dripped on the floor. ‘I’ve got this’ she says to herself whilst using small child’s yesterday’s pants to wipe over the spillage and encouraged least one spoonful before giving into their demands for the promised ‘Freddo’. It’s now 7:56 and small child really needs to be in the shower, Mummy decides to actually undress said child whilst cranking up the shower with an outstretched foot. Small child is making life difficult by refusing to hold Mummy’s shoulders instead favouring her clean hair. Then she’s in and Mummy is building up to a ‘Mum Run’ collecting the toddler with one hand and her make-up bag with the other. She then powered up the stairs hoping her arthritic knee would hold out. Toddler was deposited in front of Cinderella, Mummy made her bed with one hand and collected her clothes with her super-dextrous toes.
Mummy sprinted into her room and whacked the hairdryer onto fry knowing she had only 2.5 minutes to dry her hair before small child would begin shouting and banging the shower door. Toddler then reappeared at the door looking shame-faced and stinking. Mummy tossed the toddler onto the bed; with kindness, consideration and respect and began changing her nappy to the tune of ‘get me out, get me out…the showers gone hot, ouch it’s burning my blinking skin’. Knowing the toddlers bottom was ‘clean enough’ she then ran full pelt down the stairs, tossed the nappy at high velocity through the kitchen window with one arm and threw a towel at small child with the other. 2 minutes later Mummy is attempting to make some sense of her hair and finish her make-up; simultaneously. Small child is looking out of the window, wrapped in a towel singing ‘Maybe’ from Annie. Mummy glared at her darkened frame against the green of the fields outside and wondered if she’d ever travel. Toddler is back and she’s removed the new nappy and is wearing just her vest and two different shoes.
Mummy knew at this point she had only 13.5 minutes left; her hair was passable; besides it would be hard for people to see beyond her excessive blusher in the harsh light of day. At this point it’s time to gather up everyone’s shit. With 12.5 minutes left Mummy is dressed and ready to devote the next 10 minutes to ensuring both children are dressed. Leaving 2 minutes to usher them downstairs and into the car. Oddly Mummy finds herself in the hall with two children who are dressed with semi-styled hair with 1.5 minutes to spare; what the fuck? This extra minute worried Mummy. What had she missed? She counted the children to be sure there are two. And with no further time she ushered them out of the door and into the car. Sitting in the driver seat Mummy spots her lack of eyebrows. Bollocks.
On this occasion Mummy’s eyebrows had to take a back seat; along with the children, 4 bags, 2 stuffed toys, a hat the Toddler wouldn’t wear and two ‘Happy Meal’ boxes from the night before. Whilst reversing out of the drive at high speed Mummy catches sight of her face in the rear view mirror and bit her lip to stop the threatened tears. Both small child and toddler squabbled all the way to school over the choice of music. Mummy actually found herself repeatedly changing the CD and going from number 10 to 11 repeatedly and alternately to appease both children. Mummy hates number 10 and 11 now and makes a note to herself to ‘frisby’ the shitty CD out of the car window at the earliest given opportunity. All three arrived in the school car park and skidded into a space. Mummy took the 23 seconds on offer to attempt to compose herself, taking some deep calming breaths and trying to find her centre. Glancing down she noted that her ‘centre’ is in dire need of some toning and possibly no more ‘Freddo frogs’. Mummy gathered up small child, toddler and all of the school ‘luggage’ and then inched towards the school gate. She would have walked faster but toddler had decided she ‘no like’ school and was now clinging to Mummy’s leg. Small child offered to help Mummy by taking her reading bag off her unfortunately ‘cagging’ Mummy’s work tights with the Velcro of her shitting bag. The school bell was now ringing, the momentum of which kicked Mummy up the metaphorical arse and she now raced, red-faced towards the gate, knowing that once through it, the end was in sight.
Mummy managed to extricate herself from small child with a pleasant goodbye scene and kisses all round. With small child also went two bags and two brown envelopes. The load was now infinitely lighter and Mummy began to relax a little, glancing round at her surroundings she exchanged ‘good mornings’ with other similarly stressed looking Mummy’s. With her toddler and two bags only Mummy was now fully on top of stuff. She smiled broadly and made light incidental conversation with the other Mummy’s who’d also offloaded their offspring. Less than 4 minutes later Mummy was empty-handed; a fizzing excitement caused her to leap through the school gate. She then hopped, skipped with a grin on her face that would be visible from space! The Mummy’s were now ‘high fiving’ each other, patting each other on the back and heading for their cars. Mummy jumped into her battered Volvo, stuck two fingers up at her eyebrow-less face, cranked up Radio 2 and fucked off to work.