Summer holidays. This is the ultimate juggling test of a mother. With the kids home all day every day it’s so much harder to reply to an email, call that utility company, and run three small businesses (never mind pluck eyebrows or shave armpits). You know it’s the summer holidays as mums can be seen in town with bored children clinging onto their long, neglected armpit hair.
Crazed by the endless amount of hours with little to do in seven weeks of no school, some are learning to plait… I am hiding in my bedroom, trying to write while the kids play Barbies again. I hope they don’t argue over who gets to play with Ariel. The red haired harlot has been lying in the bath now for months, her long, flame hair has become a matted rug (as I said it would if she went in the bath).
(Hang on, I just had to stop writing to help a five year old knot a halter-neck bikini onto an underdressed blonde doll. What am I encouraging here?)
I’m not sure I agree with Barbie’s shallow values of obsessive personal grooming (ahem) but hey, the kids are quiet for hours playing Barbies – and every mother needs her child to be quiet sometimes. Help me! Just occasionally! Please stop talking, will you? It’s the constant talking and repetitive questioning that I’m finding the hardest this summer holiday.
Can someone invent some educational dolls with numbers for heads, perhaps; you change their clothes and if you colour co-ordinate well, they bark out a sum to answer. That way I’d feel better. But you know what, even if she was playing a maths game, I’d probably feel guilty she was working too hard when other kids were playing.
Like many mothers, it is in my nature to worry about everything. If my child says please and thank-you too much I worry she has low self esteem! If she doesn’t say please, I worry she’s a brat. The poor child – to have a mother with this Olympic standard of worrying. Oh, I’m so in love with her. She just ran in to blow a kiss at me. My daughter is adorable, I can’t get enough of her sometimes. I love her so much I want to explode.
She’s six years old this week. It’s been a long, hard six years which started off with me feeling emotionally numb, a newly single mother warrior, changing nappies and feeding more like a machine than a matriarch. And now I’m so in love with this clever, thoughtful, incredibly loving, hilarious, giggly human who calls me mama or mummy or poobum-head. I dont want her to grow up! Sure, I realise that as she grows up I will get more time for plucking my eyebrows and lots of quiet time, but I’ll miss all the giggling silliness which far outweighs the incessant chatter. I think I’m secretly enjoying the summer holidays…
Illustration: Jake McDonald www.shakeyillustrations.blogspot.com