I have two days off work a week. I work part time and study part time so it all adds equal to full time work. That would be true except we have three girls aged 4, 2 and 12. So things are weird. Days off are not really days off at all, more like a house battle where the winner is the one with fewest tears at the end of the day when Dad turns the key in the door.
It's weird when you have a day off, you think you're lucky but then it's like the kids have saved up all of their naughty especially for you. The youngest won't wear nappies anymore but refuses to pee on the potty so there is this constant cleaning up of wee. There will be two washes that need doing, breakfast, dinner, school run. The windows need cleaning, ironing and "Mummy can you get me a drink" x A MILLION.
So you don't really sit down.
As you iron the clothes and casually bin a top that won't iron "right" you wonder if other people do this? Are you weird?
Alice is 4, she gets hold of one of your uni books and asks why the people on the front cover are so sad. Your response of "because there has been a genocide" doesn't go down too well. The sound of Boj or Bing (you're never sure who is who on CBeebies) blares from the TV. You stop ironing and do a little dance for the kids. They laugh because you are pretty funny but you have about a million jobs to do so you can't stop for long.
I can hear you. Oh the cleaning can wait, enjoy your kids. and bla bla bla. I'm telling you now, the cleaning can't wait. I've been on strike loads of times and if I don't do it, it doesn't get done and we'd all die because the house would be so disgustingly full of messy evil stuff.
So anyway, on your day off you like to think in your head about things. You make a cup of coffee and drink it as you are sorting the toy box out. (And by toy box you mean massive pile of odds and ends of shit toys they never play with.) You wonder if you could get to Germany any time soon. A cheap flight to Munich, visit the uni and the archives. Would they let you in? As you re-attach the heads of broken meff Barbie dolls you think that maybe you're being a bit too optimistic, your assignment is due in the middle of January and you can't read fluent German, not proper anyway.
Time has ticked away and you realise that it's Alice's Christmas party in school. You do her hair all pretty and put her in a gorgeous dress. You check the letter that tells you your job detail is "sandwiches for 6 children." Oh FFS brilliant. You knew you couldn't just get "crisps" and on your days off, you feel totally inadequate about "Mum" stuff so you make cheese sandwiches and cut them up with a large bread knife. Warburton's bread isn't square and so they are all odds with each other, big triangle, little triangle,You double wrap them in foil and think it's cheese and bread what could go wrong.
In the car on the way to school you sing Christmas songs at the kids and they laugh. At the school gate another Mum has done sandwiches, and hers are all proper triangles and in Tupperware. Bloody hell I am so useless me. Alice dashes into school so excited and pretty for her party. Back at the car you catch sight of yourself in the mirror. You stayed up late reading about German resistance to National Socialism and it was heavy going, You didn't shower because you spent the last half hour of your day tidying instead. Your eyes are tired, nails jagged and you're wearing leggings, you promised your self you would avoid this terrible "mum uniform." You wonder what might happen if you go into the salon that is aptly named "New You" and just look the girl in the eye and say "HELP ME" You wonder if she would sit you down, wax your eyebrows, sort your hair out, do your lashes and give you some style advice. Maybe she would call the police and you would get locked away for being mental. You just drive home.
When you get home you continue cleaning. It's a big job. No one moves anything. It's like you are the designated house-person. You're not sure if it's your gender or just because you have the greater capacity to GET SHIT DONE. Also, you can do 134 things at once lately. You read a full book in one hour on the bus the other day, AND it was a fiction, nothing to do with uni, naughty naughty. You wonder if you worked full time would you still be the designated house person? What's for tea? Who knows. OH YOU KNOW! You must, you are the designated tea-designer person. As you pick up bits of toys and dirty clothes you think that as it is Christmas time you might invoke the Baby Jesus himself and say to everyone in the house "Look - Jesus didn't put me on this earth to do everything for everyone in this house." But then you think that might sound a bit strange, and they know you don't believe in all that anyway.
The kids fought a lot this morning, (Rosie screamed at Alice that she was not 2, Alice swore she was, Rosie hit Alice when he back was turned - tears, tantrums.) So you've had a rough day. Mushy peas are nice for a bad day. All warm and fuzzy, like shepherd's pie. Mushy peas is not a good tea though. Maybe you could dehydrate them, rehydrate them and de-construct them? You think maybe you've watched Masterchef too much and you might be slightly bonkers.
You email your husband and tell him the kids are hard work today. He sends you a flower. (An electronic one.) You tell him about needing time for a shower, so you are going to have SOME space tonight from the kids. This is good. Cleanliness is good. You think about mushy peas. Then you think that maybe all your lovely plans for the evening might be ruined because the Almost-Teenager will come in and kick off about NOTHING. Something like "Why did you put Coke in my packed lunch instead of Lemonade?" That would be typical. You think that maybe you'll write a note that says "Please don't kick off." But that wouldn't really stand out, you think maybe you could use a fluorescent orange post-it note for each letter, attached to the front door. That could work?
You sometimes worry that you might be a bit bonkers, but you think that writing it down will help. The thing is, when you're so busy you don't have time to do anything or think anything through properly and so all of the weirdness is in your head. You wonder if everyone is the same. You know that you might feel better for writing it down. You pick Alice up from school and she asks all of the questions like "Mummy how old is everyone on this planet?" and you wonder if you should just count to 120 and that would pretty much cover it? I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day comes on the radio and you think "Jesus Christ no way."