It was the apologetic post about being a “Smug and Judgemental Mother of Girls” that made me fall in love a little bit.
I’ve been reading the Facebook updates from Peter and Jane for a few weeks now and I’m convinced the author and I would be best friends. From her “Fuck It All Friday” to her mentions of the “bastarding summer holidays”, she pretty much nails it every day as far as mother martyrdom goes.
After I’ve snorted and chortled and liked and commented, I can’t help but hope her children don’t read what she writes. My mum always said the first day of the summer holidays were her favourite and she was really sad when we all went back in August. She has come out with things like “I never wanted you girls to go to the kids clubs on holidays – I wanted to spend the time with you” and she will sob every time my sister goes home to London. I quite like it.
So either she’s an excellent liar or my sisters and I were angel children or she really did – and does – enjoy hanging out with us. I also suspect, not that I’d ever tell her, that life was a little bit simpler 30 years ago. No mobile phones, more community spirit, less financial pressure and so on.
I have three separate friends who’ve used the line “to save our marriage” over the last few months. These are solid couples – they’re just parents of small children. The lack of sleep, the endless noise, the relentless pace, the MESS will wear down even the most devoted childhood sweethearts. We LOVE to read bloggers who voice our innermost rantings because it reassures us it’s normal to find it all so difficult.
But I think we need to keep it in perspective.
Today, for example, was a wonderful day. It really was.
Rod took the Wee Man off on An Adventure. They packed a rucksack full of gluten-free sandwiches and marched off into the Pentlands. KD and I tidied the house then met a friend for a very civilised Morningside brunch. He slept for an hour afterwards, allowing me to weed the driveway jungle, and when the adventurers returned, exhausted, we had a lovely quiet half hour playing with Play Doh.
It wasn’t even three o’clock so we casually got into the car and headed west, kind of maybe looking for an ice cream shop, but actually finding a National Trust garden which we had to ourselves. I took my shoes off, walked in the spongy grass and thought “Gosh this is nice. We’re all quite chilled out.” That is not a feeling I am overly familiar with.
We had dinner all together – an awesome recipe I’ll share at the end of the post because it’s such a sneaky way to get veg into your children – and the bath and bedtime routine was a bearable decibel level. So here I am and Rod’s gone off for a swim and actually, life’s not too bad.
Recipe for hidden veg pasta:
Fry a diced onion in olive oil. Add a squidge of garlic paste.Throw in a small diced courgette, four or five broccoli heads that have already been steamed, half a red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped), a few chopped up sticks of celery and half a chopped red pepper. Once they’re soft, squidge in some tomato paste and then a tin of chopped tomatoes. Mix well then put the lid on and leave it over a low heat for a few minutes. Meanwhile, boil your chosen pasta (gluten-free in our house). When the veg mix is ready transfer it into a plastic bowl and blitz it with a hand-held blender or, if you’re fancy, put it in the food processor. Mix it into your drained pasta that you’ve put back into the pot then throw in a handful of spinach. It takes about two minutes to cook. Transfer to whichever plastic plate the child insists upon then drop some tomberries (ickle tiny tomatoes I found in Sainsbury’s) and shredded ham hock (again, packet from Sainsbo’s) on top to make it look cool. Voila.