Welcome to Un-Finishing school.
Here you will learn about all of the things that I can expect to be interrupted doing, during the course of a standard day with children in the house.
- Drinking a cup of tea.
In the morning, many optimistic cups of tea are made and many are abandoned half way through. You know the tea is nearby and hot sips are fantasised about whilst you make breakfasts, pack lunches, organise bags, attempt to shower and all whilst cajoling the children to eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, find shoes, come out from under the table, ‘please stop licking my leg’ etc etc. Fresh cups of tea are made and planted somewhere close by only to be forgotten and more time is spent wandering in to each room of the house whilst muttering ‘Where did I put my tea?’ than actually drinking the tea itself. Once located, temperature of said tea has invariably dropped to that of a child’s bath, discovery of which causes much distress.
2. Eating a meal.
Whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner, I can pretty much guarantee that family mealtimes involve me carrying out several different tasks alongside the one I’m scheduled to do, which is eat some food. These vary but commonly include: fetching the ‘dip dip’ (Ketchup); fetching a spoon for the sweetcorn; no not that spoon the one with the circles on it; no not the blue one with the circles on it the red one; cutting up a small persons dinner; fetching another drink for small person, fetching the wet wipes, feeding peas to a 6 year old, feeding broccoli to a 3 year old, removing any trace of onion from small persons food, fetching a tea towel to soak up a spilt drink, fetching another drink etc etc. By the time I get to finish my meal, it’s stone cold and the few mouthfuls I have shovelled in during the time my bottom was intermittently on my seat, have left me feeling decidedly dyspeptic and my appetite depressed.
3. Replying to a text
Ok, so priority-wise texting my mates isn’t quite up there with say, wiping child’s bottom, supervising scissor-use or watching my child ‘do this!’ But I am regularly torn between being a rubbish friend and a good mum or a good friend and a rubbish mum. At 8pm when the kids are finally in bed I can at last focus my attention on those outstanding messages (in between cooking dinner, checking facebook, slurping wine and having a conversation with spouse about the day’s events).
4. Washing up
The moment the marigolds are on and hands are plunged in bowl, I will hear this sound ‘Muuuuuuuuummeeeeeeeee!’ Gloves off, locate t-towel, dry damp hands, find child, sort problem (usually something very urgent and terrible like ‘my pen lid fell on the floor’) return to washing up. The moment the marigolds are on and hands are plunged in bowl; ‘Muuuuuuuuummeeeeeeeee!’ and so it goes on. Washing up the breakfast bowls (and most likely the saucepans from last night’s dinner if i’m honest) takes ALL morning. Then its time for lunch and guess what, more washing up..
5. Going to the toilet
Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I get to go to the toilet alone. Sometimes. But this is almost always too much for my children to bear. At least one of them will do whatever they can to ensure that my appointment with my pipes is interrupted and cut short. Tactics range from sitting outside the bathroom door weeping, banging/kicking the door, trying to wrench the lock open; hurting themselves then wailing in pain and poking things through the tiny gap under the toilet door. Lets just say movements are ‘irregular’.
6. Any attempt at self-preening
It has been known for me to leave the house with just one eyebrow plucked…knowingly. There comes a point when you stop caring.
7. A conversation.
No. No way. Nope nopety nope.
You are not allowed to talk to Daddy. I am here, you must talk only to me. You can talk to Daddy at 8pm, at the same time as answering your text messages, cooking your dinner, checking Facebook and slurping wine. This is MY time.
You are not allowed to talk to your friend. I am here, you must talk only to me. Do you seriously think that just because your friend has brought her child round to play with me, that you and her can have a conversation over a cup of tea? You are mistaken. You can talk to your friend at 8pm. Via text, as set out above. Until then, I will require you to cut short every thread of your conversations in order to pay some more attention to me. This is MY time.
You are not allowed to talk on the phone. I am here, you must talk only to me. Just because it is a very important call from a very important person who needs to believe you are a very important professional, doesn’t mean that I have to wait until you’ve hung up before I can have your attention. No. And don’t think that glaring at me, putting your finger to your lips, mouthing ‘I’m on the phone’ or shutting yourself in the kitchen is going to stop me from demanding you answer me right now this minute. This is MY time.
It’s no secret that this aspect of a relationship becomes a little “challenging” once children reside in your house. It’s true, if you want to keep the intimacy alive, you have to start thinking outside of the sex box (I don’t know that ‘sex box’ conjures the right image but you know what I mean..). Invariably, this usually means a quickie whilst the children are glued to Dora the Explorer on a Sunday morning. But like everything else you need to get done, it is always interrupted. But not by the actual children thank goodness! Instead it is interrupted by the fear that one of our children might catch us ‘doing a bit of yoga’ . The uneasy rhythm of *start – stop – listen* is punctuated by shouts of ‘Swiper no swiping!!’ and ‘BackPack!!’ as Dora demands that the children screech random words at the telly. In a funny way Dora allows us to sneak some ‘us time’ whilst simultaneously being a total passion killer! And so, like all the other things on this list, even sex is carried out in fits and starts. (sorry Mum if you’re reading this)
Sleep is for morons, losers and slackers. Who needs sleep? You snooze you lose right? Hell yeah!!
This is the first line of the first chapter of the ‘how to break your mum in 1 simple step’ book that babies read whilst still in the womb. 9 months of intensive study so that when they emerge in to our world, they are EXPERTS in their field. And don’t be fooled in to thinking this intense time of sleep deprivation is limited to the newborn phase. It’s not. Two things 1) you will NEVER get that lost sleep back. ‘Catching up on sleep’ isn’t an actual thing that is possible. You might have a nap every now and then or even, dare I say it, a lie in -depending on how much your husband values his balls and / or his sex life. But those endless hours, night after night after night, they are gone. Piff Puff Pooff. Forget your beautiful rested happy face, forget your energised and rejuvenated body, forget your mental health. Forget where you put your cup of tea because you’re so flipping tired!! 2) Babies don’t sleep, we know. Now here’s the thing: Toddlers don’t sleep, pre schoolers don’t sleep, schoolers don’t sleep. That’s as far as I’ve got and all I know is, on a regular basis my sleep is inter – freakin – rupted by a small person padding in to my room at some unearthly hour.
Now, I’m one of those people who likes to see completion of tasks. I hate to leave things unfinished that’s why I’m still up now, at almost midnight, finishing this list. I have issues with unfinished business. And so, when I look at my list of things that punctuate my day but never quite get finished or eventually get finished but not without many attempts and numerous interruptions, it is quite clear to see why, at times, I might be a little bit, how shall I put it? RATTY. And why I have an oesophagus, stomach and intestines that feels as if it’s trying to digest a pickled toad.
So, It is with great pleasure and satisfaction that I can now announce the ONE thing in my life that ALWAYS GETS FINISHED no matter what. It is a thing that I take great pleasure in, the simple task of finishing it gives me an enormous sense of achievement and instantly disperses any frustrations I may be feeling due to numbers 1 – 9 on my list. It is medicinal, therapeutic and it must be carried out daily in order to maintain a healthy unfinished:finished balance in my life.
What is it you ask?
A Yoga DVD?
3 episodes of Breaking bad back to back?
A chapter of a favourite book?
None of these.
From the glug glug of the first glass to the plip plip of the final drops and everything in between, beautiful wine comes in the perfect portion sized bottle which makes finishing it satisfyingly achievable.
If like me, you only feel calm when you know there is a stash of wine nestled somewhere in the house then here’s a link to a case of Laithwaites Wine via Amazon at a discounted price of £89.99 (usually £103.38 – that’s a whopping 13% saving, because you DESERVE it!! Enjoy!
Love Sarah and Louise xx