The stages of Bank Holiday Weekend:
Gin Fuelled Denial
Box Set Blindness
Collective Activity Bargaining
Hiding in Lavatory with Phone Anger
Procrastinated Homework Depression
Gin Based Acceptance
Everyone Go Back To Work Now Please
Yesterday was Mother's Day in Belgium. F was forced by school to write me a poem (excellent, included references to early morning chicken wake ups and Oscar's "regard noir") and made his own bath foam, which was very impressive. L, now free from the yoke of school-imposed gifting, had to be cattle prodded by his father and only came up with the goods late afternoon, but when he did they were impressive:
Angry Murder Owl
I am a bit bewildered by being a mother currently, which I think must be standard for parents of 12 and 14 year olds, or at least so I tell myself. I mean, I'd still take it over babydom any day and they are funny and delightful and make me laugh and I am sure they are on the way to becoming basically sound human beings, but the constant nagging inchoate sense of Doing It Wrong oppresses me. Too much of this, not enough of that? Leave them to it, get involved? Am I too involved with one, not enough with the other? Or is it the other way around? How do you deal with their worries (never openly expressed, they are their mother's children), their orthodontics, their Internet search history? Who the fuck knows. On these occasions I like to turn to The Times, which has weekly pieces explaining to me exactly how I am going wrong (the reasons vary from week to week, ideally positing diametrically opposed theories of parenting for extra middle class meltdown potential). I don't really. I like doing practical things like washing pants and buying replacement compasses and making scones, because they feel useful, or necessary, or something. If I muster enough small stuff, I can avoid thinking too much about the big stuff. In any case, I'm not sure if you ever feel like you've done a good job on the bigger parenting stuff. It's probably just like everything else in adult life - a worrying, chaotic muddle, brightened with shafts of joy as blinding and unexpected as Belgian May sunshine and the odd patch of quiet satisfaction you never appreciate as much as you should.
I do like reading good writing about the weirdness and ambivalence of being a parent though, and there were a couple of good ones this weekend, none of them about having the larger variety of children in particular, but excellent reads.
This is beautifully written and interesting. It didn't particularly chime with my experiences (probably due to having no professional ambition or desires at the time I had my sons, indeed one of the things I remember thinking when I was pregnant the first time was that it would allow me to "get out" of work for a while, Jesus) but if I only read things that did, I would mainly read about Shetland ponies, eclairs and despair.
This was a super interesting (if not always very cheery) read about the varying degrees of pleasure, reward, purpose, happiness in parenting.
This is so beautiful on the ordinary, admirable business of being human, what we leave behind, what having a mother or being a mother is about. Made me think of my own.
There are lots of things I want to write about now that everyone has gone back to work (though next Bank Holiday is a WEEK TODAY, JESUSSS), so I will do so. But now I need to review my Dutch irregular imperfects again.
30% Histamine, or whatever the fuck happens when every insect in Wallonia decides to eat you simultaneously
30% Lost receipt gloom
20% Bank Holiday Belly
10% Still waiting for undelivered desk
10% Unable to identify a suitable summer equivalent to my winter punishment soup lunches. Salad - at least the way I do it - doesn't quite do the trick. Any suggestions?