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Life Chez Dee Episode #47: Crazy mum days

So yesterday afternoon I do my domestic goddess bit and decide that I’ll bake some banana muffins … I’ve got three bananas which are way past it for my taste … I really don’t like it when they’ve started to go black. My trusted Nigella recipe book at hand… the best banana muffins ever in my opinion … I make these muffins so often, they’re so, so delicious, loved by all so they never hang around very long.

I turned the oven on, made the muffins, and just as I was about to pop them in the oven, I do a sharp intake of breath as I notice that I’ve left a packet of chicken in there. The packet of chicken having been in the oven since the night before. I’d taken it out of the freezer as was a bit short on sandwich fillings. I knew I had this in the freezer and thought that would do for the next day’s sandwiches for Oliver, but I couldn’t leave it out to thaw on the kitchen surface, as I knew the pesky kittens would devour the lot, so hence the oven was the safest place to leave it. I’d already popped some various bits and bobs in Oliver’s lunch box ... an apple, a carton of juice, a Mr Kipling chocolate slice ... and I threw two slices of bread in there to use later. I popped the lunchbox in the fridge, so that the cats didn’t eat the bread … Yes, my cats eat bread … my cats eat pretty much everything except for chocolate and fruit.

Anyway, the other reason I did a sharp intake of breath was also that I realised that I hadn’t actually used the chicken to make the sandwiches. The packet of chicken had been in the oven all night, so wasn’t fit for use anyway, but definitely not fit for use now as the plastic packet was well and truly melted in the preheated oven, so that went straight in the bin. But what on earth must Oliver have thought as he opened his packed lunch and found that I’d given him two slices of dry brown bread today, rather than the lovely chicken sandwich he’d hoped for.

I didn’t realise until 2 o’clock this afternoon about Oliver’s lunch, as it was only the domestic goddess baking incident, and crazy mum melting the plastic chicken packet incident which prompted me to remember, and therefore Oliver would have already sat down to his school lunch and discovered his prisoners lunch of dry bread … it was all too late for me to rush up with lunchtime supplies for him. I did telephone the school, and explain to the office what had happened … oh how we all laughed! I was told that since he’d already had lunch, and hadn’t said anything, he’d probably be ok, there was fruit available if he needed it, and since it was only an hour before I was collecting him, then probably no need to worry. I then made Oliver a sandwich and packed him a banana muffin as a snack which I could give him as a peace offering when I collected him from school, before I took him to his saxophone lesson.

He came out of school grinning from ear to ear, so I knew straight away that he was going to mention the dry bread lunch which I'd given him. We laughed about it, and he said he didn't quite know what to think as I'd never done that before ... he did eat the dry bread too!

In fact the last time I cocked up the sandwiches for the boys was quite some years before, when I was busy with the production line for William, Edward, Oliver and Justin. All were having cheese, Edward wanted marmite with his, whilst Justin wanted Branston pickle ... which is exactly what I made. However, the cheese and marmite ended up with Justin, leaving Edward with the cheese and Branston pickle. So I had an earbending from him about that when I collected him from school, with him telling me that Mrs H had had to pick off the pickle from the sandwich for him ... bet that was fun for her!

If anyone were to ask me I’d say I was a rather organised person, really with it, and right on it as a mum. I notice EVERYTHING … I ask about everything, I remind about everything, I am that complete mum safety net for my kids. William would argue that I don’t know EVERYTHING, but I’d say that I know pretty much all there is to know, and the stuff I don’t tends to out itself … the truth generally does. So why does this organised and in control mum have such crazy days … yes, there are many. I think it’s just busy mum stuff, but I think however in control you try to be, or think you are, you just can’t be if you’re a busy mum.

Mornings are always chaotic … and I know for a fact this is the same for pretty much every household who has to get kids to school. I don't really understand fully why its such a drama ... its not like its a surprise that its a school day. And they don't really have to do much other than get dressed, get their shoes on and collect their lunchboxes and juice bottles from the fridge. Thankfully I don’t have to pack bags for William anymore, and shouldn’t need to be on his case at all in a morning really, but here’s the thing … he doesn’t want me to wake him up so that he’s in time to get the college bus, in fact I have been told categorically that I should not wake him up, he doesn’t want me to, he’s quite capable of getting up in time. But when it gets to 7.25am and there’s no sign of life, and he has to be on the bus at 7.45am … a 5 min walk from our house, I’d say that was pushing it rather, and so, I can’t stand by and not interfere, I’m his mum, and he gets a firm wake up call when he cuts it this fine. J of course, takes a very different view, he says leave him, he’s old enough, let him miss the bus, that’s the only way he’ll learn … but I can’t … it’s inbuilt into all mums I think … we can’t stand back and let that happen … we are the ever reliable safety net, always there for them … and William knows it.

Same applies to getting places. Justin is of the opinion that he’s old enough, and that if I’m busy he should find his own way places, get the bus, walk, go on his bike. But I’m not always comfortable with that … and William knows it … and he knows I’m a soft touch, and that I’ll bend over backwards to accommodate and run around for him and after him.

I’m not going to go into detail of the general morning chaos of the finding shoes, finding reading books, filling in reading records, taking permission slips in, taking money in, lunch boxes, PE kits, football kits, artwork done at home that they want to take in, swim certificates for show and tell … the list is endless. I remember pretty much all this, pretty much all the time. There’s usually a lot of instructions given out in the morning, get this, don’t forget that, where’s x, y or z … and there’s not a lot of response, usually you’re saying things for the 25th time before any of these reminders are acted on by which time your stress levels are soaring. And then there's always the chaos of the lost keys ... my lost keys ... every morning ... no, I tell a lie, this happens several times a day ... so often in fact that nobody helps me look for them now, as they know it's a regular panic. I put my keys down when I'm carrying bags in the house, unloading the shopping, etc etc so they're often to be found in the most random of places, including in the bed and even in the freezer! lol x

The chocolate milk incident caused chaos only the other day. It all started as I’m in the shower this morning, vaguely hearing Oliver shouting to me, not that I can do much about it as I’m in the shower. I get out and he’s still shouting that he’s dropped his cereal bowl. My immediate thought is “bloody hell, I hope he’s not been eating that on his lap, whilst sitting on the beanbag which he’s dragged in the lounge. I go downstairs, towel clad to find Oliver standing in the dining room doorway covered in milk and coco pops. Thankfully, the spilt milk incident isn’t in the lounge on the new carpet. The milk is however, everywhere. Not knowing what to do in the pool of milk, he’s got up from the table and walked to the other end of the dining room so there’s milk splodges and coco pops scattered all over. They’re on the dining table, under the dining table, all along the floor the length of the room and another puddle is in the doorway. No attempt has been made to grab a towel to soak up any of this liquid which has now been soaking into the laminate for the past 10 mins.

Oliver strips off, and goes to have a shower leaving me to wander around mopping up the mess wearing my towel.

He comes down and I say I’ve mopped up all the milk, please can you get the hoover and clear up these coco pops as I need to go and get dressed. With reluctance he does this, I sort myself out and am down within a few minutes.

Oliver comes down in his pants and shirt. I haven’t got any trousers he says. Yes you have Oliver, you have three pairs. I now have two in the washer which means you have another in your wardrobe. I haven’t got any he says. I go up. And no wonder he can’t find any, because they’re screwed up in a heap under his pile of screwed up jumpers and screwed up tshirts and tracky bottoms! At this point I’m near meltdown. I put all the clothes away where they’re supposed to be, and hand him his trousers to put on.

Meanwhile, no bag has been packed, no breakfast eaten, no shoes on ready for school. I have a teenager still sleeping. I chivvy him, reminding him that he has work to do as its a study day, revision to do, music practice to do.

I’m faffing with emptying the dishwasher, hanging out washing, and all the usual morning stuff. Mum could you make me a piece of toast. No I say, I’m a little bit busy, why don’t you stop wandering around and sort yourself some breakfast. So he goes to the cupboard to get another bowl. Use the one you have already got I say. But I spilt that one he says, I say well fill it up again, you don’t need to get another bowl. Bowl number two seems to get eaten without hiccup. We set of for school, and arrive in good time … I have no idea how.

You may be laughing, but you know .. you understand … you’re thinking yeah, there but for the grace of god … because it’s very normal, very typical, very commonplace … and that, I think, is the only thing which keeps us all sane … knowing that we’re not alone. So to all you mums having another crazy mum day, I say good job, keep going, well done.

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