Home » Family Life » I think next time around, I want to come back as a man….

I think next time around, I want to come back as a man….

You know… I’d like to wake up in the morning, get my own breakfast, dress myself, make my own lunch… go to work…make a decent wage…. come home, read the paper, eat my dinner… watch some telly… go to bed.

Maybe mow the lawns every few weekends…. take out the bins… reach high stuff on cabinets, kill the odd spider… that sort of thing.

Compared to ……

Waking up in the morning, either by being jumped on by a small child, or being yelled at by them “where’s my {something irrelevant to that time of morning}”… getting dressed and making sure the child is dressed appropriately for the situation – often including arguments and “you’ll catch your death”  or “no, you can’t wear one orange kneehigh sock and a black ankle sock to school”…  or “you’ve got half of lastnight’s dinner down your front, put that shirt/dress in the wash and get another one”. …. and the ever present “did you put clean knickers on?”… sometimes with the clarifying remark “that means did you take yesterday’s knickers off and put a new pair on, not just putting a new pair over the top”.

Making breakfast for them (seldom for yourself) – because even though daddy was in the kitchen making his own breakfast or lunch while the child was up and about – he didn’t have time or couldn’t be bothered popping in a bit of toast for them….. But you can only make it after they take 15 mins to decide if they want cereal or toast (and god forbid if you have more than one creal or toast-topping choice to offer)…. Making sure they eat it (good breakfast is important!), and arguing over why the toast is now cold or the cereal soggy, and that no, you’re not going to make another one just because it’s now cold/soggy because they arsed about too much and they no longer want to eat that…

Then packing their lunch, in the lunchpacking equivalent of tetris… Something for “fruit time”, something for recess, something for lunch…. something that is hopefully nutritious, that they will eat, that won’t spoil or spill or crush or go soggy by lunchtime, something they can open easily by themselves, and something that you actually have in the house because you’ve done grocery shopping to ensure you have the stuff to make it… and that actually all fits into the lunchbag/box you have for them.

Then brushing their hair, checking for nits/lice (god forbid you find any!) and trying to put it up while they move their head around to look at something that’s clearly more interesting than you think it is.  Making sure their face is clean…. being horrified that their nails aren’t.  Finding the vanishing shoe/s so the can finish getting dressed…. Making sure their schoolbag is packed, that nothing is forgotten and then taking them to school.  And sometimes coming back again when you come home and find something like a lunchbox, drink bottle or other essential thing has been left in the car/hall/kitchen.  And maybe while you’re there, checking the lost property box for the 50th time for the hat/jumper/lunchbox/whatever that’s mysteriously vanished.

Then, with a sigh of relief, you come home… and it’s now time to perhaps make your own breakfast, and/or a cuppa…..  Then maybe it’s time to clean the kitchen, do other housework (that seldom gets noticed or appreciated)…. go grocery shopping, do laundry, buy your child new clothing, sew up/fix a broken toy – and all those other day to day things that mother’s do.  Or if you’re a “Work at home mum” like me, then you’ve got customers to deal with, stock to make, orders to pack, supplies to buy… and all that…  only to actually earn a fraction of what you’d get paid for any “normal” job.

Then, after watching the clock all day to make sure you won’t be late (because you’re “the worst mum ever” if ever you are late and your child is standing at the gate, crying, because you’ve abandoned them [not that I know from experience or anything *cough*]), it’s time to go pick up the child from school… either standing there on your own because nobody wants to talk to you, or chatting to the other mums you actually have very little in common with, else you’ll be considered antisocial.  Come back home, sometimes an afterschool snack will be required, newsletters/forms etc. from school to deal with…. and listening to the child about what they did that day…. or perhaps a shopping trip or a Dr/Dentist/sports thing/dance classes or other such place will be visited….

Then it’s time for dinner… preferably something nutritious that the entire family likes to eat… something that’s also within the budget, and something you feel like cooking…. so you slave away cooking… trying to valiantly juggle preparing the food so that hubby can come home to find dinner cooked and ready for him (and trying not to sound annoyed when you get the “sorry I’m going to be late” phonecall that spoils that effort), sometimes only to find someone doesn’t particularly like it…  or you get a “ohh, that’s not how my mother makes it”…. or a “so… do you like it?” comment.  Then time to get the child ready for bed, and deal with the “I need a drink”, “just going to the toilet”, “my doona has disappeared into my doona cover” and half a million other reasons they get back up again….

Then it might be time to watch some tv and go to bed.  or not… you might have a hundred and one things left to do, since the day isn’t long enough to fit it all in.

…  And of course that’s not counting all the other stuff….

Birthdays for example….  If it’s someone else’s birthday, you have shopping for or making the birthday presents.  Most of whom you don’t know from a bar of soap, but have to pick a suitable present that you think the child will like, doesn’t already have (like you can know what they have and don’t have), doesn’t cost a fortune but doesn’t make you seem like a stingy paper either.  And you have to take your child to the party… chat to the other mums, who you don’t know and may not be interested in talking to.  If your child is young and you have to stay at the party, then you’ve got hours of boringness ahead of you… and get banged in the head with a balloon all the drive back home.

But then if it’s your own child’s birthday… then likely you’ve had to shop for the presents (again juggling the cost vs coolness factor)…..  organise invites and played diplomat to your child with who they can invite or how many…

And if your child’s school is like the ones MiniObsi goes to, you’re obligated to bake cupcakes for the entire class every birthday your child has… so you have to bake them the night before (or that morning), so they are as fresh as possible… making sure you’re not going to kill a child with allergies, but making sure you’re not going to embarrass your child with the cupcakes you make – so they have to look and taste excellent, so you can be the cool mum.

So you have to set up the party, cleaning the house (because the lack of housework is only going to reflect badly on you if it’s not done – no matter whether the mess is all made by everyone else – it’s universally seen as the woman’s job to keep a tidy house)….  baking (often a monumental task taking the entire day, if not several days in advance)…decorating (with balloons, streamers, lovely matching disposable plates and things that you don’t normally agree with using, but make the exception for parties because you know you’ll end up washing every dish you own otherwise… except the ones that get broken during the party, which is another bonus for paper partyware)

…You spend the majority of the party playing waiter, bringing out all the food – a large portion of which gets left uneaten on plates, falls on the ground and other ways of being completely wasted…. and being party co-ordinator, trying to organise a bunch of rowdy kids into doing stuff to hopefully keep the rowdiness to a minimum.  Remembering to thank each child for coming and giving them a lollybag  – which itself is not a simple thing – Gone as the days of old where a lolly bag just had a few lollies in it and maybe a balloon, one of those ball mazes and a whistle thing to piss off the parents all the way home… Ohh, no….  Now you have to decide if you’re going to give lots of lollies and impress the kid, or few lollies and impress the parent.  You’ll probably want a bunch of small gifts in there too… notepads, pencils, hairbands and the like.  You need to make it look good without spending much on it.  And you’re competing with the parents who go all out and put expensive things in their kids lolly bags.  When their parent comes to collect them you flash them a “it’s been fantastic” smile, while secretly going “thank god that’s another one gone home, when can I put my feet up, because I’m about to cry”…. Then of course there’s the packing up….. with mountains of dishes to wash, stuff to put away, wondering if the leftover salad has been spat into, has been left out too long or will be ok to serve tomorrow… Just as you think you’re at your most exhausted moment and it’s all finally over, it’s time to work more.

… Don’t get me wrong… I do have a wonderful husband who does a lot more to help than I know some other husbands/fathers do… but damn, it’s still a very unfair share of the workload being the mother!

This joke is so true:

A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard.The door of his wife’s car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog.

Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door. 

He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls.

As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, ‘What happened here today?’ She again smiled and answered, ‘You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day?’ ‘Yes,’ was his incredulous reply. She answered, ‘Well, today I didn’t do it.’

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