Wake up feeling refreshed because your children have both slept through the night. I mean, yours probably did. Not mine because my kids are broken. But according to the books and all the other mums online, all toddlers and preschoolers sleep through the night so you’ll probably feel like a million bucks. Just don’t talk to me about it or I will hurt you.
Turn on TV. You don’t even feel guilty anymore.
Breakfast. Your four-year-old would like a bowl of dry Rice Bubbles. You consider having the conversation about wet cereal again but honestly can’t be fucked, so you hand him the bowl and wish him dusty luck.
The 18-month-old wants what her big brother has. She wants it exactly how he has it. But no, on second thoughts that’s not nearly close enough, she needs the exact bowl he’s holding with the exact cereal he’s scooping into his mouth. She needs it NOW. She figures you’re not going to act fast enough (you never act fast enough) so she launches herself at the bowl in what will become a mega-hulk battle to the death over the green bowl.
You look at your firstborn and wonder, “did he get easier? Or did I not know what ‘difficult’ was until she came along?”
You’re walking through rice bubbles and your ears are still ringing from the screaming. In fact, your ears seem to ring 24 hours a day. Think about scheduling a doctor’s appointment to discuss tinitis and then laugh at yourself for adding one more thing to the list of shit you’ll never actually do.
Sit down with a hot cup of coffee as you watch the little one eat dry rice bubbles from the green bowl and the big one eat a chocolate biscuit because compromise and bribery are the foundational tenets of your parenting style. Shit, you’d chuck them a bag of sugar right now if it meant two minutes of shush. You go to take a sip of your coffee. Realise that your coffee is stone cold and you’re not even sure how that happened. Didn’t you just make it? Why is it always freezing? WHY?
Your husband comes to kiss you goodbye for work. You notice the time and ask him if, by any chance, he’s been incrementally moving his departure time forward over the past few months because you’re pretty sure he used to leave at 8.30 and he doesn’t start until 9 so you’re just innocently wondering if he’s getting to work early so he can sit in silence and have a hot coffee? For example? Not based on anything like your own deep and desperate desires.
He has the decency to blush – but not the decency to stay. He slaps you on the butt and makes a run for the door.
Children perform their daily ritual of letting you know you’re the VERY second choice of parent in this household.
Go and put on a load of laundry and hide amongst the sheets for five minutes because this is now your happy place. Surrounded by soiled underwear and lint.
Tell the children you’re getting ready to leave the house because the thought of filling the entire day with home based activities fills you with dread and a sense of incompetency.
Actually leave the house. There’s a whole other blog post in there…
Realise you don’t have anywhere to go so circle the block about six times and use this precious time to think because your children are physically restrained and unable to destroy anything of value. Realise with a sinking heart you’re heading to the park.
Your arse is frozen to the metal bench and the sweet, sweet sound of “Mum, mum, mum, look mum, looook at me, muuuum, come here, look at meeeee” has filled the air. You smile and nod and definitely don’t touch your phone for a moment of respite or you run the risk of some other mum taking a photo of you sitting on your phone while your children play and you become an internet shit-mum sensation (where no one ever mentions the other mother who took the photo, ON HER PHONE).
Congratulate yourself for lasting an entire hour at the park. It’s a new record and you take note of it on your phone. But you do it secretly, under your jacket so no one sees you.
You haul one toddler under one arm, your bag, three coats and a bag of snacks in the other and gently, non-abusively nudge/kick your preschooler towards the car while spitting through clenched teeth to GET IN THE CAR NOW but still smiling at all the other mums who are judging away as you pile drive your toddler into her car seat.
Arrive home after taking the long way to chew up some more time and immediately regret the decision when you find your toddler has fallen asleep in her chair. The transfer is a delicate operation that requires skill and quiet. Her big brother is an obvious handicap.
Sit in the driveway for some tense, whispered negotiations for a bit of shutyourmouth while you put the toddler down for a nap. You offer 30 minutes of TV, he counters with an hour, you go back and forth until you’ve agreed to a full length movie, popcorn and his choice of one confiscated toy.