Does parenthood bring you joy?

When I came home this evening I was rewarded with the most spectacular greeting in the world. Small, chubby little arms reached out and gave me a hug that involved using all four limbs. With her little arms around my neck, her legs around my waist and big , fat kisses on my cheek and neck, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

Like this article from the New York Magazine, this joy was soon shortlived. You see, it was 8pm and my train had been delayed (again), Husband had barrelled out of the door to get to the meeting he was supposed to have been at 30 mins earlier (thanks to late train), and I had another pile of work to get through.

So, as much as I loved my darling tot for her exuberant greeting and kisses of love, I wasn’t too impressed with having to tramp up and down the stairs for the next hour and 20 minutes to the strains of, “Moooommeeee, I need a cuddle“, and “Moooommeeee, I need a wee“, and “Mooommeee, Dolly’s hairband fell off!”.

While I appreciate the fact that the aforementioned tramping is doing wonderful things to my thighs, it is also eating into the last remaining energy reserves I have left in my battered body. I was up at 6am! I signed off a magazine! I commuted! As her cries became more and more whiny thanks to her over-tired state, my levels of frustration began to seep over my neck and into my skull.

Then I recieved a text. From The Husband.

Squidge so sad you weren’t home. She drew an amazing picture of you on a train. I did the train outline and the dragon driver (on request) everything else is hers.”

Suddenly all my frustration disappeared in a flash. I raced back downstairs to find her fast asleep wearing her slippers, a doll in each hand and a little snore in her mouth. So here I am, sitting in front of my PC, awash with more emotions than one body should take at any one time. Love, guilt (oh, that horrible, horrible guilt), worry, gratitude and joy.

Did I sound grumpy when I told her, “Go to sleep, young lady, it is way past your bedtime“? Did I not thank her enough for her drawing? Did I do enough? Is she ok with this commute, temporary as it is? Is she going to grow up with issues?

Which brings me neatly to this article. The headline really does sum it up beautifully. Parenting – all joy and no fun. When put like that, suddenly I feel better. I feel as if I am not the only mum wrestling with this madness. I haven’t even begun to delve into the meat of this story. There is a lot there to muse on.

Parenthood can ruin a relationship, it can also bring you closer together. It will definitely test your bonds and, occasionally, you’re going to want to kill your partner. One of my favourite jokes when I was battling through the first six months of sleepless hell was this one:

After you have kids, the only time parents have sex is when they walk past each other at 3am and say, “Screw you.”

Does your parenthood lack fun but bring you happiness? I don’t know about you but, for me, the answer is – sometimes. Sometimes I want to walk out the door, down the road and into the bar. Mostly, though, I just look at her and think, “I made this, me. I did it. Wow.”

P.S. The painting is the very pic posted above…

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Overachiever mum

Today I bought Squidge’s schooliform and ironed on all the labels. Yes. I did. This sentence is groundbreaking for several reasons…

1. I can’t iron. Things I iron look worse when I’m finished than when I started. Even ironing on labels required several visits by Husband to explain why it was beeping, how to turn off the steam, and what temperature setting I needed.

2. I am never efficient. I have been known to emergency buy an item of clothing on the way to an event I’ve known about for months. Getting her entire school wardrobe sorted in one day should have seen the sun fall into the sea, or something like that.

3. I have folded them, tidied them, and allocated them an entire section in her wardrobe so they are easily found. I even bought spares and extras of items that usually get mangled fast, like shoes.

4. I made it in time for the last day of the M&S 3-for-2 sale.

If there’s an award for all of this, can I have it now please? I even took a pic to put here on me blog. Wahey.

The funniest thing

I’ve been commuting to London three days a week for the past few weeks. It’s awesome and exhausting. It’s nice to edit a mag again and to be part of a team, but I miss my Squidge something fierce. And the fact that “commuting” at home is walking upstairs with a cup of coffee.

So, every day at around 3:30pm, I give Husband a call to speak to him and Squidge and see how they are doing (she finishes nursery at 3pm). Some days she just won’t talk to me, others will get me a grunt, and then there are days like yesterday when she grabbed the phone from Husband and started yabbering away down the phone.

This is an excerpt from the end of the conversation.

“Mooom, are you on the train?”

“No, baby, I’m still in the office. I’m not getting on the train for two more hours.”

“You’re not on the train, then?”

“No, I’m working.”

“Are you having a wee at S’s house?”

(I must interject here by explaining that the first of these train journeys was a social one to S’s house and Squidge is determined to believe that the whole reason I went there was to have a wee. Yes, is very odd, I know)

“”No, honey, I’m at work.”

Silence.

“You’re not on the train. You’re not coming home yet?”

“Um, no?”

“I’m done with you now.”

And she promptly handed the phone back to Husband and wandered off. I haven’t laughed that hard in ages.