4 Mythical Mothers Living in the IKEA Catalogue
Every first time mother looks forward to the little things. We watch the movies and read the books and imagine what it will be like to bath our beautiful new baby, dress up our princesses in pretty clothes and spend hours baking cakes in a beautiful kitchen surrounded by nothing but calm and serenity. We do so because the pages of magazines paint the pictures of idyllic family life. But do these elusive Mythical Mummies live outside of the pages of catalogues? I’m not so sure!
The Bath Time Mummy.
I don’t know about you, but in my world, bath time is hell. At no point in my children’s lives have I EVER been that mum who sits next to the bath in a perfectly crisp white freshly pressed shirt, laughing gaily as my children sit perfectly still in the bath with cute bubble mohicans. Nope. In my world, bath time is a rigmarole that generally means having to down a glass of red wine to get up the Dutch Courage to try and heave my two balls of overgrown energy into a confined space filled with water.
This is in no way fun. It is not relaxing. It is not serene. In fact, there is not a crisp perfectly ironed white shirt in sight, only soggy jeans and a stressed, red faced angry bird trying desperately to temper the water from ‘too hot’ to ‘too cold’… whilst at the same time trying to get the mini hooligans to keep the majority of the water inside the tub and not on the floor.
Shampoo – no matter how much it professes to be ‘no tears’, is simply a LIE. Although, to be fair, they don’t specify whose tears…because after 20 minutes of chasing them round the bath tub trying to get the suds out, I’m pretty sure the only tears streaming are my own, as I rock manically in the corner and wonder where it all went wrong!
So tell me, oh bibles of the perfect parents…where do these mythical creatures live? The creatures who can bath two kids, put them in plush, perfect fluffy, white towels and smile in the process. Where do they live? Because personally I would love some practical tips!
Story Time Mummy.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good book and bedtime just wasn’t fun for me as a kid unless my parents were reading me the latest tale by Roahl Dahl. As a writer I know how important it is to expose your children to literature from a young age. However, since having my two little angels (read: time sucking demons) I have lost the will to live on a regular basis when trying the bedtime routine.
In the catalogues and picture, you see a child patiently sitting on the lap of a parent or grandparent, pointing animatedly at the pictures in the book, while the adult, with all the patience of a saint, seems to be explaining the world to them.
In reality, or at least in my reality, bedtime stories are a sodding nightmare at least 9 out of 10 times. There is the rare occasion that I lay on the bed and both children listen intently to each and every word I say, but when I say rare, I mean as rare as finding that double Malteser in a pack of Maltesers!
Generally, in our house, this is how story time goes.
“Sit down, no lay down.
No you can’t hold the book because then I can’t see.
Ok. So. Once upon a time. NO – wait! No! I’m not finished reading that page so you can’t turn the page yet.
STOP it. I mean it.
LAY down or I will not read the goddamn book!”
Repeat this at least four times, or maybe three, depending on the length of my fuse that day… then eventually it is…
“THAT’S IT! If you don’t want me to read you a story that’s fine. Mummy is going downstairs to pour herself a glass of mummy juice. Lay down and go to sleep.”
This is generally met with major temper tantrums, screams and many many MANY tears!
So again. Where are these mothers, with the patience of saints, after an entire day of whinging, whining, screaming and tantrums, that can find the peace within them to sit and read an entire chapter (OR BOOK) to two annoying children when they know that there is a bottle of wine downstairs in the kitchen screaming their name!?
Dinner Time Mummy.
Wow. Ok. So this one is a major Mythical Creature to me!
This mum is the one you see depicted in the IKEA catalogue and Baby Blog articles, all serene, feeding children at a dinner table –toddlers smiling as mum hands them second helpings…
Seeing this particular mythical creature for me would be like meeting an actual Hippogriff in the forest being fed by Hagrid himself. I simply don’t believe they exist. Again, like most other situations it seems, dinner time is not a relaxed time of the day in our household. Trying to get our little monsters to eat is like trying to stop water running through the cracks of your hands. It just doesn’t happen.
Unless you put pizza and cherry tomatoes on their plate for each and every single meal of the day, you are pretty much guaranteed that when they step up to the dinner table, the only conversation you will hear is:
“Errrggh… I don’t like that dinner”
“You don’t even know what it is yet”
“I don’t care, I don’t like that. It’s yucky”
Then, with all the patience I have, I try and explain, for the one hundredth millionth time, that the chicken on the plate is the very same chicken she ate a few days ago. That the pasta is the very same pasta she ASKED me to cook not half an hour ago! The one she picked at the shop and promised she “loved the bestest!”
It doesn’t matter of course, not one bit, because the second the words have come out of her mouth she believes them… as does her little sister! Which means they will not eat one spoonful and I will spend the next 45 minutes trying to bribe and scare them, in every which way I know, to eat SOMETHING. Inevitably, the only person that ends up eating and drinking is me… the wine and the chocolate cake.
Trendy Stylish Mummy
This is the last and possibly the most laughable of all the Mythical Creatures. Everyone has, I’m sure, come across that picture of the perfectly blond gorgeous ‘yummy mummy’ smiling and gazing lovingly at her child as she dresses him in a crisp shirt and chino trousers. As I look at that picture I wonder what sedative she has given the child to get him to stand so perfectly still, because dressing my kids is like trying to stuff a hyperactive octopus and all its tentacles into a mesh bag!
I am generally hot, bothered and swearing by the time they are dressed in mismatched clothes (because let’s face it, it is the smallest of the fights you will face today, so we have to pick our battles!), and I’m still dressed in my sweat pants with unruly bedhead hair, morning breath and a coffee sat beside me going cold.
I certainly DON’T look like a yummy mummy, and my children never walk out of the door looking like they are dressed in their Sunday best… Or if they do, it is after many arguments, screaming and temper tantrums. If we are lucky, by that point the sun is already at the midpoint of the sky!
So if you fall into any of the above categories, please please PLEASE get in touch. I promise to PAY you for your expert knowledge!