Another week of picking up school clothes and the husband’s socks which he likes to ball up and throw down the side of the sofa. In the hurry for the rest of my family to get out the house and go to school or work, milk is spilt, and half-finished cups of tea are abandoned in random places. After long goodbyes on the school gate from one daughter, while the other two pretend not to know me, I get dragged up the lane by the dogs, then come back to the same old, same old. Housework and dinner preparation. How many ways can you cook a sausage?
Afternoons are the same. The kids come home and drop their bags and coats in the hallway, so no one can get inside the house. Then they kick off their shoes and march into the kitchen to eat crisps and ruin their dinner. The first argument is about who got the last packet of salt and vinegar. I try and get them to tell me about their day. They just grunt at me and wander off. The second argument follows soon after about which You Tuber to watch.
Trying to get them to do their homework is like trying to get my dog to come back when she sees a rabbit. Impossible. We all end up shouting at one another and the husband comes home to a cold war atmosphere in the house.
Then we move on to bath time, where the girls act like I’m trying to waterboard them. It takes six towels to mop the floor after the dousing which don’t get picked up. They turn on their toothbrushes, but it doesn’t meant they are anywhere near their teeth, and even if they are, they normally lack toothpaste because it’s ‘too spiky’, but they’ll suck ‘toxic waste’ sour sweets happily. Then I try and read to them, while they thrash about in bed and distract me with questions like ‘why don’t pets have lunch’ and ‘will I get as hairy as you mummy?’.
It’s the youngest’s seventh birthday on Monday. We went into town this week to get her presents. I should mention at this point that me and the husband are both on a health kick. Our motto is ‘eating is cheating’ so we were both hungry and grumpy before we got to the shopping centre. The husband lost it in H&M when I asked for his opinion on hairbands. He threw all the clothes I’d loaded him up with on the floor and marched outside to fume on a bench.
It’s funny seeing a 45-year-old man have a tantrum, it’s also a bit embarrassing. I took him into Primark where he attacked me with a bottle of aftershave that melted the skin on my neck. He then apologised for me to everyone ‘she is incontinent and tries to cover it up.’ We went into The Works and he knocked a display of books over and pretended it was me. He was hoping his bad behaviour meant I wouldn’t make him come shopping with me anymore. I just wandered round singing ‘if you don’t know me by now, you will never never never know me….no you won’t!’.
Back at home we had some oatcakes with that really healthy peanut butter that tastes nothing like peanuts, washed down with gallons of water. Why is healthy eating so hard and boring? We’ve also been back on our exercise bikes and lie to one another about how much we’re enjoying it and how it’s less hard than we expected. It’s so hard I have cried, but if he wants to pretend it’s easy then I won’t be the one to crack. I’m necking painkillers like sweets the second his back is turned. I know he is doing the same.
Whenever a celebrity we love dies, we go hard on the healthy lifestyle. This episode is dedicated to Chas. The husband loves to sing ‘You’ve got more rabbit than Sainsbury’s’ to me or ‘Oh darlin’ there ain’t no pleasing you.’ He refused to do the ‘first married’ dance at our wedding but put ‘Margate’ on and he does the funky chicken with his elbows and bends his knees in time, marching up and down the kitchen like John Travolta.
So here’s to another reminder that life may be boring at times, but it’s also far too short. Forget the housework, hang out with friends and screw the bloody diet. The husband and kids might drive me mad, and I often feel taken for granted. I dream of spa weekends and room service but I know that really I’d be happiest going ‘Down to Margate, you can keep the Costa Brava, I'm telling ya mate I'd rather have a day down Margate with all me family’