The daily distractions of motherhood

Often many a male has barely escaped with his manhood still intact after asking the dreadfully renown question; “So what have you done all day?”

There have been many responses over the years as women lash back, all of which detailing countless hours of chores and time consuming tasks to prove just how demanding our day has really been. Like we need to prove it!

After pondering on this subject for some time (and by that, I mean the few split seconds between said chores and tasks), I thought I would expose a few of my own little and unspoken of things that go on in my household.

I’m not going to offer any advice, or the 2 cents worth in pocket… or even the lint in my pocket… just some of the little details that have transformed my small world since becoming a mum three and a half years ago.

For starters, the two girls that I am proud to mother are adorable little angels. They really do have little cherub cheeks that I could kiss forever. I have a one year old and a three and half year old. They are my mischievous little monkeys who keep me on my toes and when their dad is not around I am sure they have this telepathic connection that alerts them to outnumber me.

Like the saying… “If the kids are quiet, it’s not a good thing”. So when all was serenely calm the other day, I panic-strikingly ran around the house (good ol’ mothers intuition) to find that miss three had decided to share her ‘artwork’ with felt pens on the walls. And with miss one as her young protégé learning from her master, I decided the lesson best come to an end. We spent the next however long scrubbing and trying to deter any future graffiti, no matter how great the talent.

Closely related to this preposterous graffiti is another form in which tagging is encouraged by handing our children stickers! It’s like handing a teenager a spray can and saying ‘have fun love’. As much as I think all the princesses are cute and fairies are ‘oh so delightful’, I would really rather not find them on my bed, dressing table, toilet wall, baby cot, baby’s forehead… etc.… anything that stands still for long enough really.

But moving on from stickers. Another thing I have noticed is that if we don’t have anything to stick somewhere then we will find something to pull off. For example; all of mummy’s nicely arranged cushions in the corner window seat, or the freshly folded pile of washing, the covers of treasured books, sheets and blankets off of their beds, clothes out of their draws, clothes off of themselves and most frustratingly, picking the faux leather off of the seat of our very stylish kitchen bar stool! In hindsight, I should have just handed over the darn stickers!

But hey, while we are on the subject of things that are expensive and no longer safe, I might as well add that little miss one has successfully added a chic new dimpled look to the top of our coffee table. It’s as though she knows that it will be just as popular as my lovely whitewashed furniture someday. If she manages to successfully play the drums in a band in the future, then I might not take it so ill of her and my coffee table will receive due praise for its full contribution to the cause.

But before we start talking occupations, we need to acknowledge all of the toys, kitchen utensils and pretend animals (all unharmed) that have taken part in various experiments and ‘operations’. If miss three ever does become a doctor, then she may be disappointed to learn that open heart surgery is not a repetitious weekly experience, and mice wandering around inside your head looking for cheese is not common. I blame her grandfather for setting such false pretences. I also blame him for once sticky-taping little cut out pieces of string shaped like a scar to her belly after ‘performing surgery’. Little sad yelps were heard for miles as we tried to ‘undo her stitches’. Let alone all the cheese gone to waste, in waiting for a mouse to come out of hiding in her head.

But perhaps she will be fine if her career choices are put on hold as she embarks into motherhood. I remember watching her proudly the first time she pushed her dolls pram around the house. Admiring her natural, motherly instinct towards her precious ‘baby’, I glanced down into the pram to see her pushing an onion of all things. Not one to judge, and being accepting of all, I praised her for being such a good ‘mummy’, to find her pushing a grape around the next day.

But while we are on the subject of onions, miss one has an entirely different use for them. Apparently the peels make for a rather fabulous ‘rug’ for the floor. Once vacuuming up her plush new rug, I am met with a new set of obstacles as miss one then miraculously turns into a rabid puppy, hell-bent on chewing some vacuum cleaner power cords. Like any hillbilly missing a few teeth and oblivious to any logic, I try to reason with her that its not a good idea. On the other side of the lounge, miss three has simultaneously decided that the vacuum cleaner nozzle is a swamp dwelling crocodile that will chew off her feet if she leaves the safety of our couch. I really don’t see how they both get something so different out of the same vacuum cleaner. Miss three thinks it will eat her and miss one wants nothing more than to have a good munch at it herself. Needless to say, between fending off the hillbilly and occasionally pretending to nibble at the conservationist, vacuuming is far larger a task than we give it credit for. I am reminded of the quote “Cleaning a house with kids in it is like trying to brush your teeth while eating an Oreo”.

So, Mr Men, who get to have loo breaks in private ­– there you go! That’s what goes on while you sit in your cubicles sipping coffee and lifting a few fingers to type.

While my daily escapades with kids may not be worth writing home about, if I did, my stationery and envelopes would always have stickers and an extra line or two of scrawl, scribbles or drawings of ‘people picking flowers’ on them. Just reinstating once again, that any clean surface is a fresh canvas.

Now you know how a morning is passed in the daily life of a mother.

Deanna Kloosterboer is mum to two little girls and a runner-up in our summer short story competition.

Published December, 2013



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