I absolutely love leaving the house with my exclusively breast fed children, watching them skip and form deep bonds with each other in the park, having an outdoor Kumon session (taught by me obvs,) before eating our organic lunch, freshly prepared by me from scratch that very morning. That’s until I realise that I stomp from the house, trying really hard not to just constantly fucking shout at my kids who were mixed fed, have more interest in picking their noses/bums/willies than learning what I think they need to be learning, while bribing them with chocolate to just put one foot in front of the bloody other, who would rather chew off their own faces rather than eat fruit, all while spending about 95% of the day trying to kick the shit out of each other.
And while I’ve written many times about not being the mother I thought I’d be, this is nothing new-it has happened to every generation before us. Every generation thinks they invented sex drugs and rock and roll, when the truth is it’s always been around, just under different guises. And every generation has decided exactly what kind of parent it’s going to be, but will never be that parent, because we will never have the children we thought we’d have. But yet it will go on-my mum smiled and nodded as I made all of these sweeping statements about what I was going to be like as a parent, and I’ll now smile and nod in the future when my children make the same announcements.
I went away at the weekend-just me and my husband. And I won’t lie-IT WAS FRIGGING AWESOME. We arrived, we drank. We (I) shopped, we drank. We went to the hotel, we slept. We went back out in the evening, and I drank my body weight in vodka, and we chatted like toddlers on speed. I totally forgot about my carb free diet, and spent the end of the evening inhaling carbs like I’d just been told potatoes had become extinct. We had hangovers the next day, but it didn’t matter, because nobody was screaming at us to do shit. Having a hangover while reading magazines and watching crap tv, is only a moderate inconvenience.
But as the day wore on, and I started to miss the children, I started to make new rules about the parent I was going to be once we got back to them. I was never going away again-they need a mum who is always present and there for them. I’m never going to shout at them again, because some random article written by someone who isn’t a psychologist, and has no actual scientific research to back up their opinions, says I shouldn’t do it because I will make them end up in lifelong counselling, and I will need to answer to the devil. I will totally overhaul their diet-it’s appalling, and they will end up contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic. I will be patient with them when we are trying to leave the house, and they are getting undressed quicker than I’m dressing them, and are suddenly fascinated with where babies come from, and with a barely visible ‘baddie’ on their left toe. I will explain where babies come from, because I’m a really fucking cool mum like that, and nurse that baddie with every nursing skill I own-it’s the small things that count right?
But, just like when you were given fresh exercise books at the start of the school year, and vowed to always write in them with your bestest, neatest handwriting for the whole year-then end up making a right fucking mess of them by the end of the second week, like on New Years Eve when you say you’ll never drink again, but manage to make exceptions such as the cat’s birthday, or next Tuesday will be a really hard day so I’ll have one then , and like the generations of ‘I’ll be this kind of parent’ before me-I wasn’t home five minutes before I was muttering ffs into the snack cupboard, looking for Pom Bears to alleviate the incessant moaning into my face which started the second I walked in the door, which my mum assured me she’d seen absolutely bloody none of the whole time we’d been away, while planning my next bid for freedom.
I do it every time I go away too. I have these little epiphanies about all the shit I’m going to change. And it never happens. It’s the circle of parenting life-I’ll always do it, as have those before me, as will others after me. And it’s a funny old thing to keep doing, and never learn your lesson from really, isn’t it?