Today, I am the mum with the wet hair, frantically rushing up the road in the pissing down rain. I have a large three month old strapped to my chest. I have an umbrella in one trembling hand, holding it over the baby and I. The other hand is struggling to push a heavy, nearly three year old in a buggy. Have you ever tried to push a buggy with one hand; up, down and across roads and up onto pavements? You’ll need arms like The Hulk.
The rain cover for the buggy is in one of those places hidden in the house that only reveals itself the day you move out. So I’ve draped another rain cover from another broken pram over the toddler. Ten minutes into our journey I see it hasn’t shielded him from the rain at all. So I hold the umbrella over the buggy and my scarf over the baby while I continue jogging, knowing that I am late (as usual). People pass by offering humorous comments: “that’ll keep you fit!” or “you’re good at multitasking” but mostly I get looks of disapproval.
I had a night of broken sleep because the baby has a cold and can’t breathe. Every time I got into bed he would start screaming and I estimate I got barely an hour in the end.
My toddler is playing a game with me where he repeatedly says my name
I say “yes darling?”
and he mumbles nothing at all under his breath. And repeat. I think this is what the youth call “trolling”. It’s been two days of this now so when he says “mummy? mummy? mummy? mummy?” I ignore him or shout “YES?” topping up my score on the “bad mother in public” game.
Getting out of the house today was so difficult, getting both children ready for a certain time, was such a struggle, that I nearly cancelled the doctor’s appointment twice but persevered knowing that it had taken over a week just to get this one.
I arrive at the doctors and am the main attraction. Everywhere I go I seem to be stared at, an art exhibit – “crap mum of two on canvas”. Serves her right for having two kids! What did she expect? Did she never see super nanny?
My hair is wet, my clothes are wet. I forgot my coat because I was so concerned about the children being warm. I’m here because my three month old has a weepy eye. Three pharmacists told me I MUST go to the doctors. Could be an eye infection etc. You haven’t been yet? You’re a crap mother.
The doctor says it’s absolutely normal and very common and there’s nothing he can give me for it. So the journey was a wasted one. The appointment was a wasted one. Thanks pharmacists for repeatedly asking me to get appointments that take weeks, only to be told – go to the pharmacy.
And while we are on it, thanks old lady who told me my baby wasn’t wrapped up properly in his pram yesterday and took it upon herself to take the blankets and wrap him up vigorously without my permission before ranting to your friend how mothers don’t keep their children warm anymore while I stood listening saying NOTHING. (He was wearing 4 layers and I was actually worried he was too hot).
Thanks to the toilet attendant who tutted me and told a queue of mothers I shouldn’t be in a particular parent / child cubical only to then give me the filthiest look as I walked out. I must have missed the sign. THERE WAS NO SIGN.
Somewhere a long the way I became a walkover. Must be the way I look.
As I struggle back home I stop in the co op to get the toddler something \ anything to placate him. The baby starts screaming against my chest and I am again the star attraction. The toddler starts screaming because he doesn’t understand I have to give the lady the Peppa Pig magazine to pay for it before he can hold it. Some laugh “you’ve got your hands full!” The check out lady says “don’t worry about your receipt” and I run home pushing the pram one handed as it careers into bins and the road, just wanting to start drinking. But I feel too sick to even do that.
Tonight my partner will come home and ask why I look sad and I’ll say I’m fine. He will have had a bad day at work and there’s no way of explaining today’s struggle. In my daily struggle with the children – I’m alone.
I eventually get through the door and simultaneously put on CBeebies and put fish fingers in the oven. The baby falls asleep properly, for the first time in a day, perched on the edge of the sofa. So I am stuck. I can’t move. I sit and just cry.
The lonely cry of the crap mum with the wet hair and the screaming baby and the cheeky toddler with sodden legs and the wrong rain cover and the inability to stand up for herself and the whole world staring in at her.
If you like this post please come and find me at my new blog – http://www.mummyswritingdarling.co.uk
and my Facebook page – Mummy’s Writing, Darling
Twitter – @sivitersteph