For some time now this non-existent blog has been floating around in my mind. It is an attempt to take the edge off life’s general failures with self-mockery, but basically I haven’t found/made the time to actually write it, due to life’s general failures.
Let me give you a day of my life.
It’s half term, I’ve got both kids for the day. Luke will be gone exactly 10 hours. I’ve done it before, for a whole year, but seems I’ve now forgotten how. We have a vague plan – park, lunch, swimming. Sounds simple enough. Not feeling like hurrying, we have some fun before getting dressed. And then obviously fail to get dressed and leave the house on time as per usual. We’re meeting a friend at 11am but at exactly 11am she texts to say she can’t make it, her 4 year old is having a meltdown. She’s forewarned me it might be too much to fit in in any case. Oh well, a least I’m not the only one who hasn’t got it all together. Although actually in general she basically has got it all together. She’s actually having a very difficult time and has much better excuses than mine, which are none, for not making it to the park. Plus she will have known we wouldn’t have been there yet seeing as we’re yet to be on time for anything ever.
No need to panic. Divert to Sainsburys for an early lunch then to soft play, promise an ice-cream at the end as compensation for changing the plan and in order to avoid meltdown when it’s time to go. Only their freezer has broken down. Seriously, what are the chances? So it’s back to Sainsburys for ice-cream then home. I have an ambitious plan – I’m going to take both kids to swimming on our tandem. My husband will be proud of me.
I let Abigail watch Netflix whilst I prepare everything we need and all the bike equipment. I even manage to persuade a very reluctant toddler to switch off the TV, get off the sofa and into the cold. We’re all set, I mount the saddle – aaargh, it’s too high, I feel too unstable, I can’t manage the weight of the bike. I just about manage not to drop both my kids from a height, whilst a crowd of about 5 onlookers weigh me up from the other side of the road. Thanks guys. As hurriedly as it’s possible to turn a tandem with two kids on around I get it back inside and yes, we’re in the car, and going to be late.
Once home I start humming the song ‘Because we love our children‘ by Seize the Day, and lamenting the bottom line that parenting young children can so easily erode one’s commitment to not only the environment but general contribution to life in society.
I’m interrupted by a text. It’s from my sister, she says she’s angry with me about a conversation we had some weeks ago that we didn’t fully resolve, and angry that I haven’t contacted her about reopening the discussion. I haven’t got time to process my emotions and thoughts, I need to get the tea on plus find things to distract two children with whilst I do so. Abigail is on my case with her incessant demand for attention. I had been tempted to get a pizza from the cafe at the swimming pool but once again, I had an ambitious plan – to cook a healthy meal for my under 5s. Cod, kale, carrots and rice in a mushroom sauce. Yes I guess I am crazy but I figured if I put enough sauce in I could hide the tastelessness of everything else?
My mind wanders to a conversation I had yesterday with a colleague. I was winding her up but then I said something which was probably a bit too pointed. What was that about? I think it was about the fact that she has very high standards and is always pulling others up. I guess people can only tolerate so much of feeling they’re not good enough. Not a good enough colleague. Not a good enough sister. Not a good enough mother. Not a good enough player in society. Maybe people who have high standards should realise that it’s them that need to lower them.
LOWER YOUR STANDARDS PEOPLE SO I FEEL BETTER OKAY?
Not even finished cooking and Abigail says ‘mummy, that’s disgusting, it’s the most yucky thing ever’. I tell her that’s not very kind, then it escalates – the cheese I put on wasn’t the right kind/amount, so I resort to ketchup, but I shouldn’t have mixed it in, apparently.
I crack inside, and coolly say;
‘Abigail, why don’t you just fuck off and eat your tea’
‘Why don’t you fuck off, mummy?’
And so we have it. I will be exposed by my 4 year old. I see it now, the headline reading:
‘Local Quaker GP and generally middle class woman, Christelle Blunden, tells 4 year old to fuck off’
Yes, it turns out that middle class women who are trying to hold down strenuous jobs whilst parenting under 5s whose husbands work full time and who aren’t supported by extended family, sometimes say fuck, too.
And actually it was funny, and we both laughed. Then I said let’s make a deal – I won’t tell daddy you wouldn’t eat your tea if you don’t tell him I said fuck. I’ll try not to say it again and I’d like you not to say it. And also that I said it because I was a bit sad and it wasn’t just because of her. She sees my humanity and forgives me.
I decide I will recount the tale to Luke when he gets in, painful as it is – he never swears and has the patience of a saint. Then the people from the swimming pool call.
I left a bag there full of wet swimming kit. Excellent.
No sooner have I put the phone down than a polite little voice calls over the monitor saying ‘mummy, I haven’t got a nappy on and there’s no potty in my room, also you forgot to put starts on my chart’. Luke reminds me we need milk. True. I’ve only been to Sainsburys twice today so why not drop by on the way back from picking up the bag? I return sometime later, having sorted nappy, start chart, potty and bag, but I forgot the milk.
It is at that point I decided #blundenfailblog was, if only ever once, going to be a thing. And the toys on the floor could wait..
P.S. After writing this I went out to get the milk from the corner shop, then promptly dropped it so as to puncture the bottle. There’s a reason I didn’t become a surgeon! Still, no use crying over spilt milk…