We don’t need to win all of the time.
Well, maybe some people do but I can’t imagine it’s a very relaxing attitude!
However when it comes to family life us mummies are never number one. I don’t know about you but I am constantly putting the other members of our family before me. I make sure every one of their needs are met before I sort myself out. Sometimes I don’t get the chance to do that thing I needed to do, like eat lunch or have a wee, before the next demand comes in.
Sometimes even the cat gets fed before I do. He really knows how to turn on the charm. So that’s two kids and a cat who come higher in the pecking order than me. My husband also often slots in there too in the evenings when he’s had a particularly hard day.
Here are some of the ways I have put myself last:
I have to make sure both kids are fed before me. This could involve something simple like warming up food in the microwave or something more fiddly like an omelette packed with the leftover veg from the fridge. Either way, I have to wait for my meals. Then when I do get to eat my toddler often wants some of my food, because stolen food tastes better! When I’ve made us all the same thing I often find myself picking the “worst” plate for myself, such as the one with the burnt bits or the one with a smaller portion.
Before having a child you think being a mum will mean having less time for those luxurious bubble baths you love. You don’t realise it actually means you hardly wash at all. Having a shower doesn’t happen unless everyone is in bed. Then you face a hard choice between showering or an extra 15 minutes in bed. Tough call.
Getting ready to leave the house
I would like to have time to put some make-up on. Even just a bit of concealer to sort these permanent grey circles out that make me look like a panda. I would like to brush my hair, maybe even run the straighteners over it. I would love to spend a couple of minutes staring at my wardrobe thinking what to wear. I would love to figure out an outfit more interesting than jeans and yesterday’s top, which I always make time to sniff first. Well some of the time anyway. But snacks need to be prepared, the bag needs packing, nappies need changing, teeth need cleaning and shoes have to be found. And we’re still five minutes late!
My toddler loves ice cream. When we treat her to one she eagerly wolfs it down then looks to me as I savour my own. I let her have one lick. Then two. Then three. And before I know what’s going on she’s holding it and I am lucky to get one more bite in. It’s the same with any other kind of food I enjoy. She can hear the rustling of a packet from behind a closed door, on another floor of the house.
I like to catch up on the news in the morning. But I also like to do it without someone screaming “Peppa, Peppa, want Peppa!”. So inevitably I cave and my toddler gets TV rights in the mornings. Worse still, my teething baby has decided only the remote will do for relief. So even if I wanted to change the channel, I can’t.
Surely this day is my day? This is when I put myself first? It’s right there in the title! No for there are other mothers with a higher rank than you who dominate this day; the grandmothers. Mother’s Day is always about taking the kids to see their grandparents for us, so there’s no lie in, no chilling, no pampering and no celebration of me. When I am a grandparent I will milk it for all I can get to make up for the lost time!
I chose to become a mum and this merry-go-round of demands is part of that. I have two very small children who depend on me for everything. I want them to feel they can come to me for anything. However I would like to come first, maybe just once a month.
I think we all need to be a bit “selfish” sometimes. To put ourselves at number one. It doesn’t make us a bad parent in that moment. It makes us a sensible one because if we look after ourselves then we are also looking after our kids. No child wants a mum who is constantly on the floor with hunger and exhaustion.
So this weekend I have packed off both my kids to their grandparents’ house for the night so I can go out for dinner with my husband. I will tell you how that went later. I have finally put myself first. Tomorrow I will put myself second, third and fourth again. And I will be happier doing it because I finally got to win!