What do you share online? Cute smiles, pretty drawings, mouth-watering meals, smart outfits or photos of crooked smiles, closed eyes, naked tantrums, fish fingers served with beans and chips?
What we post online tends to be an edited version of our days; a way of recording the best bits. Last week, two of my friends wrote posts that rang a bell. Renée was giving her insight into life with three children and Vicki simply felt like quitting her job as Mummy.
Their very honest posts inspired me to write about a typical morning in our house, from waking time to the school run. As our mad rush was unfolding this morning, I paid a lot more attention to it all.
6.41 a.m. Wriggly (5 months) wakes up for a feed.
7.58 a.m. I can hear Crevette (6 years 3 months) and Beanie (4 years 1 month) playing in their room. Jumpy (2 years old) is starting to scream, “mouk, moooooouuuuuk!” (milk). I ignore them and close my eyes as Wriggly is having a top-up.
8.05 a.m. Wriggly is fed and the big ones are starting to be seriously loud in their bedroom. I hurry downstairs to make their breakfast, making sure I open the gate quietly so they do not follow me.
8.14 a.m. The kids’ breakfast is overcooked once again. It looks more like stodgy cement than creamy, warming porridge. I add lots of honey to make it more palatable. In an attempt to get everything ready quickly, I knock Beanie’s juice all over the table. It goes everywhere. As I look at it seeping through the floorboards, I cannot help but wonder whether that might attract rats. I am running out of time so I mop it all up in a rush, leaving everything sticky. Breathe Mel, breathe!
8.23 a.m. As I get to the children’s bedroom, cup of coffee in one hand and milk for Jumpy in the other, I realise with horror that the little monsters have not wasted their time. Every single soft toy is in Jumpy’s cotbed, the dressing up costumes are all over the floor, Beanie is dressed as a princess meet wolf and Crevette has a Spiderman costume on, complete with Darth Vader mask and Jedi Cape. The books are all off the bookshelves apart from three and Beanie’s sheets are covered in felt tip. My sweet, innocent children have no idea who would be capable of creating such a mess! I tell them to get dressed through gritted teeth.
8.32 a.m. Crevette faffs, puts his vest on the wrong way round for the third time in a week and cannot find his socks. Eventually, he is dressed and downstairs. Beanie has taken off her pyjamas and apologises for peeing in her nappy again. As she takes it off, I get a whiff that reminds me of my great-grandmother. I give her a bottom shower and she gets dressed, before going downstairs.
8.38 a.m. I have a sip of my coffee and hear Beanie screaming at her brother for eating from HER bowl of porridge. He committed the unforgiveable crime of having a bowl she likes and she is furious. She refuses to eat her breakfast. She then finds my iPad and proceeds to hit her brother with it. I am boiling inside and start getting snappy as I speak to her. I take her to one side for a quick, private chat. She does not make eye-contact and crosses her arms. She gives me a small kick in protest. I shout; she shouts louder.
8.41 a.m. Jumpy’s nappy is so full her vest and pyjamas are soaking. I take them off, give her a quick shower. As I try to get her dressed, she starts running away, giggling. Why does she always do that? Patience is seriously starting to run out. I manage to get her dressed, give myself a quick wipe and get dressed. I carry toddler and baby down the stairs.
8.47 a.m. I feel I am doing well for time for once, then as we are just about to head off, I realise the key is not anywhere to be found, the baby has just had a code brown, the four year old only has one boot on, the school boy has left his water bottle upstairs and the toddler is having a tantrum for no apparent reason. Oh wait, of course… I was trying to convince her to sit in the pram. She will have to be wrestled there. Key found in my handbag, water bottle rinsed and filled up, two boots on four year old’s feet and baby in the pram still marinating in her nappy and we are finally about to head off.
8.55 a.m. The bell must be ringing at school. I open the door and realise it is raining. I run upstairs, get everyone’s wellies and run back down, very nearly tripping over my own feet on the way down. I throw the rain cover on the pram and start walking, urging the kids to hurry up. I try to get my coat on whilst pushing the pram as quickly as I can. As we walk, I realise the children did not brush their teeth. I make a mental note to insist on a thorough brushing session before bed.
9.01 a.m. We are running towards the school, kids moaning about tired legs, close to tears (all of us at this point) and we arrive at the door as they are about to close it. I push little man in and the teaching assistant looks at me with a pitiful expression. He is the last one in. I feel like an awful mother. Welcome to my world!