Work at Home Mums face many challenges when trying to balance work and family.
Kids don’t often understand that if you are in your office it means you need peace to work. They assume, I think, that as long as you are in the house, you are fair game.
Take my son Kai for example.
He seems to see the lock on my office door as a challenge, not a barrier to be respected.
He almost shrieks with joy when he finds it locked, as he knows he can severely rattle my cage by banging the door and yelling whatever question he wants answered, as loudly as possible through the wood.
On Wednesday he spent exactly twelve minutes kicking said door, while I was on a conference call meeting with America. It took all of my will power not to open the door, pick him up by the scruff of the neck and throw him full speed out of an open window. (Seriously, sometimes I have a very clear insight into the motivation of serial killers)
So not only did I have to control my feelings of murder in the first degree, but I had to suffer through the embarrassment of explaining my wayward child the other people on the call. (Cause the behaviour of my kids is directly correlated to how good I am as a mother, right?)
I made it through most of Wednesday, holding firmly on to my frayed emotions, until we reached dinner time.
I had lovingly prepared a vegetable lasagne that morning, and even went to far as to blend all the vegetables so they were unrecognisable as vegetables (lest they be rejected on appearance or colour).
Every single child threw down their fork and declared the lasagne disgusting.
There’s something very disheartening about spending hours preparing a meal, only to have it unanimously rejected.
And Goddamn it, I had put four layers of pasta in the lasagne, hoping to fool them into thinking it was kind of a spaghetti bolegnese except with flat, long, steamrolled pasta and the sauce squished in between. What an idiot I was.
During the rejection of the dinner, accompanied by a resounding choir of screaming/complaining/whining, my daughter Maya announced that she was off to do a poo.
Experience has taught me that when Maya is left alone in the toilet, a mixture of boredom and curiosity means that she unravels every single toilet roll she can find.
So I dutifully removed them all from her vicinity and left her to it.
Five minutes later, she came running into the kitchen and performed naked from the waist, dog head down, to let me know she’d finished. So I frogmarched her back to the loo to collect some wet wipes.
I pushed the door open and was greeted by the sight of at least four unravelled toilet rolls on the ground around the toilet.
Reminding myself to Breathe Kim Breathe I stepped over the mess and pushed the door closed behind me.
That was when I noticed what she’d done.
She was so intent on getting to the toilet rolls (which I had removed to the shelves behind the cloakroom door) she had decided to deposit a large turd on the floor, behind the door, as she helped herself to the forbidden treasure.
As I opened the door and pushed it closed again, a large semi circle of squished poo now decorated my beige carpet, having been perfectly lodged under the door.
That was it. I snapped.
Letting out a squeal of rage, I charged into the kitchen (yelling to my husband what had happened), to collect a sponge and bucket to wash the carpet.
Of course, any time I get angry, Ryan thinks it’s hilarious and was actually bent double, snorting and clutching his sides at the sight of me running around in rubber gloves,with steam coming out of my ears. This just made me madder.
After I had cleaned it up and deposited the (still unfed) kids upstairs to bath with Ryan, I collected a cold beer and went outside to cool off.
You would think that the tale would end here, yes? No.
Somehow, my errant three year old managed to escape the clutches of the bath and make her way unsupervised to the kitchen. I’m not sure exactly what was going on in her head, but when I arrived back from outside, a little calmer and mildly inebriated, I found two litres of cows milk and one litre of soya milk poured all over my kitchen floor, decorated by four coloured cups and a pair of abandoned, pink socks.
I stared, open mouthed at the mess. I was stunned into silence. So do you know what I did?
Actually that’s not true, I took a picture and posted it on Facebook, and then I laughed.
And the laughing was so liberating, that once I started I couldn’t stop. It was almost as if the events of the day were so unbelievable – a procession of one thing after another, that by the time this happened I had no anger or frustration left. I just accepted it for what it was, sat down at the kitchen table and waited for my husband to appear from the bath so we could laugh about it together.
I learned, more importantly, that sometimes you just gotta let go.
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(Here is the picture of the milk)