The Mum Experience
I got a taste of ‘The Mum Experience’ last week. As in the REAL mum experience. Not just the 8am to 6pm shift that I usually take on. Not even the occasional 6pm to 11pm babysit either. I’m talking the real deal mum experience:
[The Evening Shift]
At. It’s. Best.
A full house of kids,
a to-do list so big it scares me,
& the need to run things to a time schedule
as though preparing to join the Army.
I’m just going to come out and say it. I got absolutely beat.
My cameo as Army officer was so that BossMum and BossDad could go out to celebrate their anniversary. We’d discussed the evening routine and I had it down. Nothing I hadn’t done before. Nothing I couldn’t handle. Oh those famous last words!
Early on I decided on a plan. I would tire them out in the pool and the rest of the evening would go by with an easy transition of sleeping kids. How wrong I was!
It went a little something like this..
I thought it was 5.15pm
We came in late from the pool – the clock was wrong (off to a good start) to find the mother of Miss Charlie’s friend, Fiona*, waiting to pick her up. I frantically gathered all of her clothes, school bags, hats, blazers, pens, lunch-boxes and other random items that were scattered in the usual walk-in-the-door-drop-my-bag-and-run. It was an effort to look as though I was in fact seriously organised and not at all fazed by the fact I’d forgotten her imminent arrival. #Fail
Leaving the rest of the kids (Miss6 and The Twins) in front of the
tv homework station, I set my sights on Viv. I wrestled the crawling, wriggling, naked baby back into a nappy and into something that had once resembled a clean bib. I then dumped her into her high chair so that I could shovel some lovingly prepared organic baby mash into her mouth. This was in-between tired pac-man style swipes of her arms and angry protests as though to imply she no longer wanted any part of this mundane feeding process. #Win, I think
Right, doing good.
Holding the baby at arm’s length so as to restrict the inevitable transfer of dribbled food onto my clean clothes, we relocated from kitchen to the bath tub. Waiting for the temperature to right itself (over zealous with the hot tap) I once again disrobed the baby and called to Miss 6 to join us in the bath. I called, again. And again. And again. #Fail
Letting Bub babble to herself in the bath, I half angled myself out the door, the eyes in the back of my head watching for fear she should decide to ‘inhale the water and go swimming’, and pulled out the old:
Don’t make me get to 3 Miss Charlie!
You. Bath. Now.
Tout de Suit!
She promptly joined us. #Win
This is awesome. I’m rocking this! Miss 6 in pyjamas. Baby in clean, baby-vomit free jumpsuit. Night bottle done. Miss 6’s school readers done. Off key lullabies happening. Baby on the way to peaceful sleep. #Win
Mission accomplished – baby asleep!
I descend the stairs to find Miss6 and The Twins have emptied the entire contents of the pantry into the lounge room. I announce that dinner will be ready soon. They’re not hungry – see empty wrappers everywhere. Awesome. ‘Too bad, you’re going to have dinner too’. #Win
I cook the chicken nuggets (here’s one I prepared earlier) throw in some broccoli and corn and start on the school lunches for tomorrow. Suspect grunts and a frown at the ‘foreign looking green thing on my plate’ tells me I’m doing my job right. I mediate an argument over Tomato sauce v BBQ sauce and throw some green veggies into a pot for my own dinner. #Win
The monitor lights up and cries are heard in stereo as Bub starts up for the night. #Fail
I turn my pot of veg off and go to check on Bub. Giving her back her dummy, she soothes and I think, ‘she should settle again now’. Wishful thinking!
She doesn’t settle. I pick her up and cradle her to me, gently rocking her. She screams. I sing to her. She screams louder. I ‘shh’ her. She screams more. I do all at the same time and get a half giggle, half cry. #Win
I breathe a sigh of relief (too soon!), she starts crying again. I sit on the floor of the dark room and rock her, improvising lyrics to lullabies I can’t remember. #Fail
Phew, that wasn’t too hard!
Bub is asleep again and back in her cot. I head back downstairs to the rest of the kids. They’re glued to the tv. My questions about how their dinner was fall on deaf ears. I repeat it again. A grunt and a quick glance answers my question. #Fail
I turn my veggies back on, load the dishwasher, clean the kitchen and keep going with the school lunches. #Win
Bub starts crying again.
I finally get Bub back to sleep. Baby nurofen was employed. Kids singing was employed. Pacing the house was employed. A whole lot of silent prayers were employed. Some silent naughty words may have been employed. #Win, I think
Back downstairs, I warn Miss6 that she’s only got 20 mins left before absolute lights out. She says she’s fine with it. I know she’s lying. She knows I know.
Realise I forgot to turn my veg off. They’re now cooked grandmother style (boiled the life out of them). I throw them out.
The girls want a fruit bowl for desert. I cut up all the fruit I can find. Discover an entire bag of too soggy peaches at the bottom of the crisper. Try not to gag as I throw them out. Eww. I clean the kitchen.. Again. I remind Miss6 that she’s now only got 10 minutes left to brush teeth and go to bed. She says she knows.
Not loving this!
Bed time. Miss 6 complains. Cue major-scale tantrum!
I pick her up and carry her to bed. She grumbles. I shush her and in my best ‘angry whisper voice’ tell her to shut it or she’ll wake the baby. She whines. Bub wakes up. Bub cries. Then screams. #Fail
I down tools and rock Bub back to sleep.
‘But I’m not tired’, Mis6 whines. She did this on purpose the little rat. She just wrangled 20 more minutes out of me. I tuck her in and lay down with her. She starts to discuss the meaning of life. Seriously, just got to sleep. please!
Miss6 is asleep. Finally. But she’s on my arm. And in my bed. Awesome. Carefully I extract myself. 2 down, 2 to go. #Win
I descend the stairs to find The Twins fighting over the tv remote. I’m fairly certain they have homework they should be doing.
‘I’ finish doing ‘their’ maths homework. #Fail
Bed time for them. Yes!
The Twins are finally in bed and asleep. No more kids. #Win
I clean the house, again.
Realise I didn’t wash the school uniforms. Realise I didn’t finish making the school lunches. Realise I didn’t have any dinner. #Fail
I find myself eating a bowl of coco pops on the couch and watching Disney channel before noticing that no kids were around and I could actually watch something that didn’t flash bright colours at me at the risk of an epileptic attack!
The Bosses come home
They ask, ‘How was your night?’
‘Oh fine, it was a breeze. We had so much fun. They were angels’. Yes, I know, I lied. #Fail
BossDad is asleep on the couch. Bub starts crying. Boss mum gets it. Miss 6 wakes from bad dream, I get it.
Eyes are drooping. Bed time. Remember that Miss6 is in my bed. I gently relocate her. She doesn’t wake. Oh thank god!
I lay awake in bed suddenly not tired thinking about all the things I was going to do that day that I didn’t do. #Fail
And then I realise that it’s already another day and we’re going to do it all over again. Yay.. I think..bangs head against wall.
Well there you have it. An exposé into,
[The Evening Shift]
At. It’s. Best.
..I think I’m still recovering!
This Nanny is going to stick to her day job, most definitely!
In all seriousness, hats off to Boss Mum!
With an intensely demanding 9-5 corporate job, a hobby side project business and 4 and a half kids (Boss Dad) she manages it all and still juggles the overnight stint on the foreign trade markets. She’s one talented lady. I don’t know she does it!
Sweet dreams everyone, tomorrow is another day. Let’s do it all again!