My fella works shifts, and sometimes works 2-10pm meaning I tackle the dreaded afternoon tired tantrums, not-gonna-eat-owt tea times, peak teething pains, inevitable-wet-everywhere bath time, wriggling-poo-everywhere nappy changes and screaming banshee bedtimes on my own. Fun.
This particular day everyone is proper tired because I am ill, Stanley is ill and Jack is teething and going through a tricky development phase that makes him only need 20 minutes sleep at a time. Also fun.
With Jack hanging off my boob, the kettle is boiling for my fourth cup of tea which I know won't get drunk and I'm making lunch for the toddler that is demanding a pile of grated cheese. Grated. With a cheese grater that requires two hands.
Now, Jack is nigh on 16lbs at this point, which is heavy for those of you with normal weight babies; he's busy guzzling, biting and flailing his arms, and Stan's busy shouting at me. I balance Jack on the worktop, cheese grater wedged in an awkward position, partially under Jack's flappy arms, pouring stripes of cheese to the worktop, Fireman Sam plate and floor. The radio was playing some repetitive yelling rubbish, the dog was barking at the fly catcher, the rain was pouring, Jack was guzzling and Stan was still yelling and throwing anything he could find at me because the food wasn't coming fast enough. My phone was beeping with messages from people I don't care about and ringing from people I don't want to speak to. I noticed a smell. It must be the cheese. "Stan the cheese has gone off, do you want something else?"
He replies by launching a recipe book at me which hits my already bruised calf.
"STOP IT STANLEY. STOP!"
pause. stress induced tinnitus sets in.
I find myself shouting Stop repeatedly on days like this. Mainly at Stanley because he's the only one of the four small creatures in this house that understands this command. He might never ever stop, but he knows what it means to stop and so I continually shout it at him. Guilt.
|I wish that cold tea was a cold Staropramen and that Star Jar can get fucked.|
And what I really mean when I shout stop is that I need the world to stop; the endless cold cups of tea pouring down the sink, the crunch of dropped crisps under my feet, the broken "soothing" vibration on the baby bouncer that sounds like chewbacca on crack; the dog scratting at his poorly leg; the two year old's constant whining and aggressive thrashing about, purposefully throwing things at my face to get a reaction that in all truth, I don't have the energy for. I want the baby to stop pulling off my nipple to give me a happy grin because it's just a big game of stretch the nips. I want the guilt to stop, the tiredness to stop and the constant comparisons to stop.
I just want it to stop, all of it at once. With no-one around me at all. I don't even want a warm cup of tea, or a full chocolate bar to myself, or back to back Netflix binging. I don't want someone to bring me cake or a magazine. I don't want a relaxing bath or a long deep sleep. I don't want my hair doing. I don't want anyone talking to me, touching me or looking at me. I just want everything to stop. The guilt of mothering, the joy of mothering, the adventures and playing of mothering. Just to stop.
And if it did all just stop at once, I'd probably end up picking up all the lego, descaling the kettle, putting the washing piles away and getting some hoovering done.
**DISCLAIMER** Stan didn't actually eat the cheese. Instead we ate popcorn, drank hot chocolate and watched a shit film. Then he spilt the hot chocolate.