It’s difficult to pinpoint the moment I turned into a stereotypical mother and wife. As a teenager I sneered at my own mothers willingness to cook, clean, take my crap and drop cliches into every conversation.
I promised myself I’d be different; I’d travel the U.S. in a campervan and paint every room in my house black, but twenty years, a husband and three kids later I’ve become a Stepford Wife – albeit an incredibly bad one.
Things I swore I wouldn’t do when I became a wife and mother:
Lose my temper.
I’ve always been an easy going people-pleaser so this one would be easy to keep, right? Wrong! My kids have made me so incandescent with rage that I have literally foamed at the mouth. I have screamed till I’ve had to take a pill for the self-induced sore throat/ burst vein in my neck and gone tit for tat in a bout of “no, you shut-up”. There have been occasions where I’ve even tried crying and pleading with them as if they had any capacity for empathy or sympathy. These little people are demanding and have skills ranging from the irritating.. nose/ ass picking to the outrageous.. Ever had a dirty protest on your computer keyboard when potty training? Or had to pick a child’s shoe from your lasagne? It takes a lot of counting to ten (thousand) to survive a day and I find stepping into another room and whispering the foulest words I can think of helps (gee-bag can be particularly cathartic). Alcohol soothes, actually the promise of a glass of wine at the end of a day does as much for me as an actual one, and the next day is not as painful.
I can be a desperate bitch sometimes . Do a lot of women resent their husbands? I love mine, I fancy him, I respect him but sometimes I’d like to kick him hard in the ass like Bishop Brennan. How come he gets to shower alone, have a leisurely lunch and then kiss the kids goodbye and toddle off to work without a smear of snot on his top? How come he can open his underwear drawer at all times and find it’s magically restocked? I asked him this question the other night and he said “O Christ just leave my underwear to one side and I’ll figure out the machine and do them myself just to shut you up?” I hadn’t realised I’d thrown this nugget in his face many times before. I actually started to hysterically laugh and then realised I was crying… a strange experience.
Feed my kids junk.
I started well with my first, only feeding him Organix rice cakes and carrot stix from Boots. I’m not sure how he got a taste for real junk but I would have to bin all the organic stuff while he cried for Snax and Milky Bars. When my second son came along 3 years later, my determination had waned somewhat and he was born a sugar junkie, possibly due to my obsession with Double Deckers and full-fat Coke when pregnant. A year later, son number 3 arrived and I was just short of handing him a Chupa Chup in the delivery ward. It’s like most womens’ weight mantra… “I’m trying to be good” They do like fruit but time after time healthy dinners end up binned in preference of nuggets or sausages. I can’t judge as I won world’s pickiest eater from the years 1976 to 1996 inclusively. I’m so envious of all those mothers on Facebook displaying their fun afternoons baking with the kids. The thought fills me with horror. On a good day my house looks as if it’s been turned over by the gestapo but to add flour and broken eggs to that? No thanks! Plus I’ll just end up eating them.. syns, syns, syns!
Let myself go/live in leggings.
I did manage to maintain a semblance of togetherness until number 2 came along but it’s now about choices. Do I shower or should I try to get the kids to school on time? Do I use my precious couple of few hours free time at night to pluck, primp and groom or do I lie semi conscious on the couch, half watching Parks and Recreation and half playing online scrabble with my mam? Do I live in leggings? Absolutely, all the bloody time because everything else accentuates my muffin top.
Hands up who else uses YouTube as a babysitter? Frankly, I’m baffled as to how our parents kept us amused. I did envision sitting by my kids bedside reading a chapter a night from the classics but I’ll leave that to Stampy Long Nose or Ballistic Squid while I hoover, unload the dishwasher and get schoolbags ready.
Oh yeah and in case you were wondering, my walls are magnolia.
Originally published in Like Magazine.