In the name of motherhood, we do so many things! Things that I am sure when I envisioned motherhood, I never thought I would be doing *so much* of. The real, every day stuff. Like constantly being called by four tiny humans. Varying levels of “Mum/Mummy/Muuuuummmmmmy/MumMumMumMumMummy” at least 400 times a day. Yep, in one day. Idle thoughts like “Muuum, can I have an apple?’ “Mum, I can’t find _____”. Most questions revolve around food, or equality (she has more, she hit me twice, he has my car, he tricked me).
Or when you got to a theme park or zoo and you see many like-minded and weary parental faces nodding, smiling and waiting. There is always waiting. Waiting in line. Waiting for a show to start. Waiting. “Mummmee, how much longer?” is repeated as many times as the incessant “are we there yet” phrase that we all like to pull out a few hundred times on any trip.
You stand, holding a bunch of hats, contorting yourself so you don’t drop any, holding them all in one hand so you can smile and wave as your child/ren go past on the ride each time. I think I look like a grinning idiot waving madly to make sure they see me and know they are ok. But the fun they have makes up for it; even if it means they have five rides in a row. And then they get a bit bigger. And they don’t look for you like they used to and you find yourself waving harder so they do catch your eye. Funny how you miss the little things like that.
So much time – traveling to/from places. Organising the extra things like swimming and dancing. Usually 1/4 or sometimes 2/4 don’t want to go and have changed their mind because ____ is more fun. Negotiating to get them all there. Bargaining. These kids are borderline terrorists with their demands! Waiting for them to finish. Waiting for them to start. Using that waiting time to do some crochet.
Brushing hair. There is a good hour every day between them all.
Making/baking preparing food. Add another couple of hours. On a good day. Home made cheese and bacon rolls are now a family favourite (recipe here). And popcorn (just plain, popped in a saucepan with a dusting of icing sugar) is a big fave. Apples, by the kilo every day, and at least 4, sometimes 8 bananas. Then the yoghurt. And milk, and bread!
So add groceries to the list – and yes I know that it is only going to get worse. I always seem to be filling the fruit bowl, topping up the cereals and flours. Ongoing. Never ending.
Then when they are sick. The unspeakable things you have poked down a plug hole. The offensive smell of bodily fluid that is all over you that you cannot care about because child 2 or 3 or 4 or even 1 needs you again to hold back their hair or just hug them. The washing that everything needs after all of this; and washing it again because you either forgot to get it out in time and it got too hard, or you forgot that you forgot to rinse the bulk of the spew off of it. The child freaking out because they are not her undies, but her sisters. The way you know that Emma likes to be cuddled a lot, and Caitlyn carried like a baby no matter how big she is, Brendan likes to be sat on your lap any old way, and Hayden likes to still be held when he is sick.
The stern voice you have to ‘get’ right. The voice of authority. The voice that has to tell your kids off for doing any amount of things even when you really want to just laugh with them and not care that they drew on the walls for once. When you have to be adult enough to not laugh at toilet humour when your kids are playing cupcake to unwilling participants. But also the voice that protects them. Keeps them in a row behind you and safe.
So many things that you don’t realise will take up the bulk of your day. The impromptu singing and dancing to a new song on the radio – and their interpretation of the lyrics is always hilarious. The cuddles. The story telling. The reasons why they cannot possibly eat any more dinner as they have ‘full tummies’ only to ask five minutes later for a yoghurt, or cheese, or an iceblock. The way they refuse to smile in a photo that you want of all them, and instead poke out their tongue, look away from the camera, or just walk out of shot.
The pretending to love Frozen just as much as they do. Or dinosaurs. Or both. For the first time in forever I think Let it Go is out of my head to be replaced with another tune from the movie (pun intended). Going to the movies means you are going to see something G rated and will likely say ‘sit down’ a hundred times; and surrender your popcorn because they will eat all of theirs before the ads are over. Gone are the M+ movies that have a plot, replaced by something animated, with merchandise and a soundtrack that will have you rocking and drooling like a post op lobotomy patient, and broke from getting it all four times.
Or having to speak fluent Minecraft. Knowing what a Mob is. Or a zombie pigman. Crazy places like creative, nether and survival. Pretending to be amazed by it all. A crafting table. Oh the terms – they really should write a parents manual.
And I know that in 10 years time I will miss this. I will miss their level of need for me now. As bone tiring and repetitive as it can be; I will miss it all. From the hair brushing, teeth brushing, washing and search and find rescue missions for lost toys, I will miss it. The interruptions, the detours, the calamities, the constant chatter and movement. It will all be so different even in a years time. And I know my role will evolve so quickly that I won’t always notice it immediately; it will only be when I have the time to think about it I will notice it. But wow, what a ride. Waiting in lines and all.