You’ve been up all night with the kids: teething, vomiting, screaming – them, not you (but it’s only a matter of time. Don’t get ill. Can’t get ill, you repeat deliriously, whilst listening to your husband’s snores competing with your toddler’s wails). He’s got work tomorrow and you haven’t (because clearing up toddler’s shit, wiping streams of snot, just keeping everyone alive does not appear to constitute a working day).
He gets up and complains that he can’t find his tie and you want to strangle him with it when you spot it, slung over the chair where he left it. But then you remember that there are some things you can’t do without him (not many to be fair) so instead you just ignore him until he leaves. At which point you cry. For no reason, other than your toddler shat on the rug – a really cool one, with lots of hygge. The only piece of Scandi chic that you own. That’s now full of shit. Shit that landed mere inches away from acres of wipeable laminate. Tears are also shed for the baby who won’t shut the fuck up, so you stick her on your boob, at which point the toddler dumps his sodding Lego man down the toilet. Because of this, you’re leaning over the toilet with the baby on your boob, whilst fishing for a Lego man with the toddler screaming, when the doorbell rings.
Thank god it’s only the postman, who has seen your boob before. He does appear to wrinkle up his nose though, when the whiff of crap wafts from the shag pile rug as you shut the door. You start crying again. You cry because you have just shut the door on human, adult contact. Right now you want to be a postman, skipping around the houses and posting things carefree. Or you want to run off with the postman and lie on a beach, just staring at the sky. You’re crying at the sheer humiliation of being a crap mother and you hate your kids and you look at your watch and it’s only 7.30am.
By 8.30 you are sick of Peppa Pig and your toddler resembles one of the refugee children you see on the news, will ill fitting clothes and a bobble hat on, because this morning (every morning) it isn’t worth the fight.
By 9.30 you are texting your husband – telling him what a fucking (you reread and delete ‘fucking’) – awful day you’re having and you hope he’s enjoying the peace at work. He texts back ‘x’ and you tell the phone to piss off.
The struggle to the toddler group, the milky tea, the yellowing posters on the church hall wall and the mum you get stuck with who is droning on, do not elevate your mood.
The circus that is lunch: juggling two very different demanding clients, whilst listening about how your husband’s important meeting went, with the phone balanced under your aching chin. Right now, you really don’t give a crap, as you quite literally have a nappy on your brain.
Then when baby and toddler co-ordinate their sleeping patterns for 30 minutes, you waste spend 15 of them staring at them and feeling so full of love for their cherub faces that you almost forget to clear up lunch, clean the loos, hoover and put a wash on. When they wake you think: what the fuck can we do until tea? And after tea you think: what the fuck can we do until bath time and by bedtime, you are all screaming.
And then Daddy walks in. Relaxed Daddy. Smiling Daddy. Happy Daddy. Fun Daddy. Daddy who chases and tickles and throws into the air to squeals of pure delight. Daddy who can do no wrong. Only Daddy will do.
So you seize the opportunity to slink off, for some moments unnoticed and clear up the carnage of the day. Your husband comes downstairs beaming with love and pride and you try to muster up something to give him back. But today, you can’t.