Thank heavens for school! When you have six children, not only does school expand their mind and prepare them for working life and yada yada yada, it also releases their parents from captivity for six blissful hours every day (school holidays: why? But that’s another story)
But then, sadly, there’s “after school”.
I’m ‘lucky’, I work school hours so finish at 3pm. I work hard so on Thursdays (when the baby needs picking up from the childminder) I normally leave around 2.50pm. Not today. Of course, not today. My life is never simple. Today I invited myself to a meeting at 2pm. A meeting that was due to last 25-30minutes. Perfect.
Visitor didn’t turn up till 2.35pm. Apologised for being late etc. Boss told him I could only stay till 3pm. All fine.
Excused from meeting at 3pm.
I’d forgotten to put on out of office as am having a day off tomorrow.
Leave office at 3.05pm
Pick up baby at 3.25pm.
Get to school at 3.35pm. Pick up #4 and #5 plus #4 friend who I sometimes look after after school because when you’re a mum of six it is vitally important to stockpile favours when you can.
So now have four children.
Take four children to hairdressers to meet #1 because he is 17 and doesn’t know how to ask for a haircut.
Hairdressers vocally “omg, so many children at once”. They know me. They know me very well. They can’t do anything except accommodate. Which they do very well. Squash and biscuits all round. They accommodate so well I feel over comfortable and agree to a cup of tea. Probably a mistake.
Burn throat trying to gulp tea while herding children, particular trying to avoid “throw all magazines on the floor” game or “spill drinks” accidents because hairdressers have never seen children before and don’t understand child drink rules. Mainly: never, ever fill child’s cup more than 2/3 full.
Hairdressers breathe sigh of relief.
Drop three kids at home with dying husband. He’s got man flu. Sad.
Phone rings on way.
Can’t answer it because it’s illegal.
Plus it’s somewhere under pile of last week’s left over McDonalds wrappers, a million coats and other vital equipment (e.g. Blankets and cushions: you try breaking down with children without them).
But definitely not answered because it’s illegal. Only reason, definitely.
Park car, illegally on double yellows (but it’s a calculated risk of experience of said double yellows, 3-year old, time and traffic)
Phone rings again.
Have no illegal excuse. Because caller will know if you’re ignoring call for non-illegal reason. It’s modern day logic.
Search out phone under vital car debris.
It’s always #2.
“Where am I?”
She has to know where I am every minute of every day.
“Im at the hairdresser with Mack”
“Can you take me to Brynna?”
“It’ll be after hairdresser. Maybe 20 minutes?”
It’s acceptable. (Yay! Because all a mother wants is her child’s acceptance)
Hairdresser is next to #7’s (the dog) hairdresser. Call in to arrange appointment.
Because if you get opportunity to multi task, you should ALWAYS take it.
Go into human hairdressers.
Hair cut looks way too short to me.
My own fault.
I imagine everyone can see the same pictures in my head as me.
Plaster “it’s great” face on. No one can put hair back on. #1 relies on me to make adult decisions for him.
“Wow, that looks great! Are you happy?”
“Ugh” He couldn’t care. It’s cut and it’s nearly time for him to go home.
Wait for end of hair cut with #6, phone (with no data) and one toy car. Woefully underprepared. Resort to magazines: “wow, what colour is that? How many cars are in this picture? What type of sandwich do you like?” Even Torin looks at me like at me like I’m crazy.
Pay. (Including hair styling product because #1 is a Danson at heart. We can’t do anything with cheap products)
Dodge traffic to get #1 and #6 back in car. #1 now old enough to see dangers. He stresses twice as much as me. I stress because he stresses. It’s a relief to get into car.
For some reason only known to him. #6 demands bananas.
Agree to buy bananas after #2 taxi-ing.
Brain working overtime. Which local shop will sell bananas? Bananas are worst fruit to find in local shops. They last about 30 seconds. Shops only sell food they can turnaround before they have to be thrown out. Local shops do not stock bananas.
Consider suggesting chocolate.
Complete #2 mission. Including speed bumps. Friend can’t live somewhere without speed bumps. That would be too easy.
Ask #2 what time she needs picking up. She doesn’t know. She’ll call.
Daydream bubble about wine: burst.
Grit teeth. I’m a mum. Taxi-ing is pretty much 80% of the job description.
She says that’s never going to happen. #1 is not the “taxi-ing kind”.
Sadly agree she’s probably right. Speed bumps for at least another two years for me.
So now to bananas.
No bananas in shop 1.
Start to consider when extra’s mum is coming to pick her up. Think it’s 5pm. It’s now 4.45pm. Doug is home (but possibly dead by now). Plus there’s #1 (who is 17) in the house (Those who know him will laugh at how desperate I must be to consider him as part of the equation) So not totally adult-less. Plus they’re not even in the house. They’ve taken themselves to the park. It’s light, they’re 9 and park is within current housing estate. It’s hardly neglect. But would like to continue to earn these favours because, like I said, you never know when you might need them.
QCo-op will have bananas. Bananas and fair trade are synonymous. Co-ops MUST sell bananas. It’s practically the law.
Go to co-op. Parking a nightmare. (Of course, we’re in a rush, why would you expect anything else?)
There’s a wall at the co-op. Baby must walk on the wall. It’s like baby drugs. They can’t say no.
Baby decides to walk wall sideways and refuses hand holding. Mental debate of time vs baby falling and killing himself. Reluctantly decide not to walk off leaving baby to fend for himself.
Baby finishes wall obstacle course. Reach front door of Co-op. Realise I’ve left purse in the car.
It’s my own fault. As a soon as you forget the rule: “more haste, less speed’, life conspires against you.
Luckily baby agrees not to walk wall back to car.
Luckily baby agrees to walk forwards on wall back to co-op.
Accidentally find wine on special offer.
Baby so excited about bananas he forgets opportunity to walk wall back to car.
Try peeling banana halfway.
Baby screams as if I’m trying to feed him poison.
In fairness to him. It’s banana skin, it’s practically the same.
Start thinking about dinner. I’m hungry. Kids fed chicken nuggets and chips the last few nights. It’s time for some proper food. Decide on curry.
Get home at 5.05pm.
Extra’s mother arrives at 5.10pm.
Extra still at park.
No one has noticed. Sssh…..
Kids like korma. I like balti. With vegetables. Two don’t like curry at all.
Chicken korma, Chicken Balti (with potatoes, carrot, peppers, and cauliflower), rice, sausages, cauliflower, carrots, white sauce.
#3 needs taking to rugby and #2 needs picking up from speed bump land.
Doug decides he is dying but will struggle through #3 and #2 job. Plus he has a vitally important job of his own that he forced himself out of bed for.
Doug not happy because he is practically dead.
I’m not an alcoholic.
I’m a mother of six children.
Granted. It’s practically the same.