At the start of our journey home from our long weekend away, I’d already decided that as impromptu weekends away go, it was probably the best we’d ever had. The hotel had been amazing (The Sands in Newquay-anyone wanting a child friendly hotel really needs to check this out,) the weather had been brilliant, I’d taken an awesome memory lane trip around Newquay, stopping to take photos of the places I used to stumble out of with my friends, after a long night of carefree Smirnoff Ice drinking, and also marvelled that the same hangover food stops we frequented were open, and to top it off, the children had slept really well in their alien environment, allowing evenings full of copious prosecco drinking.
Mid reflection, the eldest child pulled me from my musings, with an ominously anxious sounding ‘mummy, I….’ which was as far as he got before the rest of his sentence got lost in a cascade of vomit that would give the little girl from the exorcist a run for her money. It appeared to be covering every single surface in the back of the car. My husband, proceeded to prove that he wasn’t lying when he said he could in ‘no way handle vomit,’ and as the putrid smell reached his nose, he swiftly pulled over, fell out of the car….and vomited on the side of the road. It was like a Mexican wave of vom, and I started to wonder who would be next. Little did I know, we’d now entered The Vomit Games, like a series of games and challenges, where the prize was never good, and only consisted of the lucky winner being covered in a sticky, chunk filled mess.
The first game was the vomit equivalent of Russian Roulette. The eldest seemed so perky after the initial incident, that I convinced myself that as we had left for home just after breakfast, and the roads were quite winding, that motion had caused the problem. After an hour or so, he asked if we could stop for a drink. So we pulled in at the nearest service station, and obliged. While the youngest was happy to sit and chew on some toast, the eldest was flitting between my lap, and my husband’s lap, in Russian Roulette meets pass the ticking time bomb parcel. My husband was the unfortunate winner of this game, when BOOM, just as my son moved from my lap to his, the latest offering of stomach contents sprang forth. Again, my husband made a mad dash to the toilet, to both rid his clothes of his prize, and to not let the Russian Roulette game stop-he was taking his role in the game seriously, evidently.
Once we finally made it home, we began a new game-the vom version of popular 90’s TV show Get Your Own Back. This involved me and the eldest sat on the sofa, with my ‘challenges’ being reading his cues correctly and getting a bowl in the right place at the right time, or choosing correctly whether to call his bluff when he said he needed the bowl, then backtracked and said it was a false alarm after all. He was not always telling the truth about the false alarms. He sometimes also said nothing at all, and I was left to read subtle body language changes. To avoid a Get Your Own Back style vom gunging, I had to deploy stealth ninja skills in getting the bowl ready, or call him out on his very own little game of poker he had going on.
Of course, the youngest had to join in with the festivities. He decided to play his very own game of Bushtucker Trial. I had already caught him trying to eat a woodlouse earlier in the day. He clearly decided to take this to the next stage. In Japan, sometimes people eat puffer fish. But they are so poisonous, if not prepared correctly, they can kill you. Having laughed in the face of his own mini Bushtucker Trial, the youngest attempted to take it to the next level. He was going to find something he had no clue what it was, and challenge himself to down it in one and see what happened. Unfortunately, I left a full vomit bowl within his reach, while I went for an emergency wee, which had been threatening to cover my floor in protest at being left in my bladder for too long, for quite some time. I caught the youngest putting it to his lips, in an attempt to down the contents… In a slow motion ‘nooooooooooooooo….’ I got there just in time, before he went all puffer fish, and drank the contents to see whether they would poison him or not.
However, as the stream of vomit eventually began to subside, a new game began to emerge. The eldest was totally wiped out by what had happened, and decided to sleep solidly for a couple of days, just waking occasionally for drinks and snacks. The littlest decided that he would also extend his afternoon nap, and during this time, the Mummy Pentathlon began. I did several loads of washing, deep cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen, dusted things that hadn’t been dusted in years, watched something I wanted to watch on the TV, and had an actual nap. Finally, part of The Vomit Games that I had won!! My prize, instead of getting soaked in the sticky, chunky mess, was To Get S**t Done For The First Time Since 2012! Quite a rewarding end to a challenging games…!
This post first appeared on Meet Other Mums.
At the moment, I get two hours to myself every week-this is on a Friday when the eldest child is at nursery, and the youngest is having a nap. When he is asleep, I usually do a tiny freedom dance, before trying to prioritise what needs to be done first, usually before falling asleep and doing nothing. Come September, the littlest will be joining the eldest, in what I jokingly named Freedom Fridays, a name which has now stuck. Even more excitingly, we have had confirmation that they will both now be able to attend all day on a Monday too, in what I immediately named March Forth And Be Free Mondays (admittedly not as catchy as Freedom Fridays, but now it’s kind of stuck too.)
I’ve been delirious with excitement over this upcoming freedom, because apart from the odd night out here and there, or an hour or two during the daytime when my mum has babysat so that I could (mostly) run errands, I haven’t had a whole day, just to do what I want, in 3&1/2 years. Instead of a mini freedom dance on these nursery days, I have imagined that I will be fully Mel Gibsoning the shit out of the day, dropping the children off, and running around screaming ‘FREEDOM’ in random stranger’s faces, and generally Bravehearting my way through the day, terrible Scottish accent and all. I’ve been having all kinds of wild musings and daydreams over how I’m going to spend this new found freedom, mostly including the following:
1. Training my body to poo only on a Monday and Friday. It has been an ongoing dream of mine to poo without someone screaming to be held/fed (in the beginning,) to more recently, having a running commentary: ‘Can I see it mummy? Is it massive mummy? If we take it out of the toilet mummy, will it reach the sky? Squeeze it out mummy, squeeze it out.’ Yes, the amusement factor of these conversations has declined at an alarming rate recently.
2. Putting some trashy magazines in the toilet to read while I’m doing my uninterrupted poos.
3. Having a bath that lasts long enough for my skin to go wrinkly.
4. Having a bath that I’ve had time to clean properly beforehand, so that I’m not constantly worried that the little brown thing by my elbow isn’t part of a rogue fleet of excrement deposits, trying to find its way back to the mothership that one of the children left as a poopy present.
5. Drinking all day.
6. Reading an actual book.
7. Long, laid back lunches with the people I’ve attempted lunch with for the last few years, only to have all of us be distracted by our children, and only managing to throw a few flustered words at each other before giving up and going home. Cue, we have repeated this at least once a week for the last 3&1/2 years.
(On my phone, enjoying a lone poo)
However, as September creeps towards me at alarming speed, my delirium has started to be overtaken by classic symptoms that have pretty much defined my entire motherhood experience: Panic, and Guilt. Sending the children away for two whole days now seems really selfish, and I’m wondering if I’m doing it for all the wrong reasons. I’ve been really struggling with being a SAHM recently. I’ve felt impatient and angry, and my mood seems to have taken a huge decline. I’m frustrated that I can never get anything done, and the lack of personal space has been making me claustrophobic and panicky-but these are all things that now seem all kinds of wrong, when said out loud.
My children are still at an age where they need me-they need me constantly. Soon, they won’t need me, so shouldn’t I really just be sucking it up, and putting the need for some time and space to myself on hold? I only have two years, then they will both be at school. Surely I have no right to be angry at them for just being children, and I should be grateful that they follow me everywhere, refuse to play on their own, and scream at the top of their voices if I should even leave the room for a split second. It’s what I always wanted-I needed to be needed, I’m sure, deep down in my slightly damaged psyche, I’d probably admit under hypnosis that it’s probably the reason I had them. To now push them away seems flippant.
As a mother, isn’t this what I’ve signed up for? If you give up your job to look after your children, don’t you, well, stay at home and look after them? I know that I set my expectations of being a mum too high, and have been sporting my Dunce hat over what I thought it’d be, to the shocking reality. In my head, it was going to be all Fairy Gardens and adventures, long snoozes in bed together, all at the same time, and constant sloppy kisses. It’s taken me the best part of the last 3&1/2 years to come to terms with the fact that this would never be a reality, and drop my expectations through the floor. I walk around feeling like a constant failure as it is, but guilt and shame are now making me feel even more of a failure because not only have I let go of most of my motherhood dreams, I’m now going to fail at staying at home to look after my children, because someone else will be doing it for two days.
(Not the crafts and home baked bread I was hoping for…)
I have all these feelings that I’m battling with-Reason tries to fight Panic and Guilt by telling me that if I have a break and some headspace, I’ll be a much better mum on the days I do have the children. Reason says that they may love nursery, skipping in there with a ‘thank f**k for that, finally someone different to that knob,’ at the same time I’m maniacally screaming FREEDOM to random strangers. There’s also the reality of what I’ll actually be doing when they’re at nursery, which is actually nothing from the above list, and will most likely include:
1. Sorting out my tip of a house, which for the last few years, has had any mess laying around, thrown into the nearest cupboard when we have visitors. There is no more space, and the cupboards are groaning under the strain…
2. Making most of the house fit for human habitation… Like I said-there’s been no time to do ANYTHING…!
3. Not having lazy lunches with friends, because none of us will be child free on the same day.
4. Just doing a quick poo because so much else needs doing.
5. Not drinking all day, because picking the children up half cut will make me look like a terrible parent.
6. Initially, the reasoning behind the two days in nursery was so that I could retrain, ready for re-employment when the children are both at school, only problem with that is that I still do not have a CLUE what I want to do with my life…
(Errr, or not, as the case may be…!)
Reason also tells me that I’m possibly over thinking the whole thing, and to just go with the flow… Wish me luck for September!