There was a time when I truly believed that life as a domestic goddess would entail days filled with genteel darning, serene soup making and afternoon salons with like minded ladies.
God love me. I'm not sure anyone quite deserves the reality that is life as a stay at home single mummy. Take today. In fact let's start at the very beginning and experience the true horror that isn't going to work in shoulder pads. (Please pack me in your briefcase Career Lady).
Wake up with child on my face. Child who spent the night in my bed because there was a cow in his room whose hair had inexplicably grown too long to bare at four o'clock in the morning. Scratch dramatically itchy boil rearing it's ugly head in my cleavage and resolve to make today the day I find the singing Santa hat hidden goodness knows where and serenading us with "We wish you a merry Christmas" on a half hourly basis. Get up. Feel mildly surprised by face tanned overnight and run around the house opening windows and doors, shooing out hairy cows and the stale odour of another thundery night.
Get in shower. Dance about in good for me cold water. Throw talc all round the bathroom because the whole world is stifling hot and go downstairs to find child eating biscuits. Grab them and hide packet in a tin marked TEA in the kitchen before the bad Mummy police arrive and Finley learns to read. Make tea for two. Hang out washing. Search for small underpants unlikely to cause screams of outrage. Fail. Drag little legs kicking and screaming into objectionable pants and empty dishwasher. Go upstairs and reassure child the toilet isn't going to flood and no, the house will never, ever flood because we live at the top of a hill. Argue about why it is essential to flush toilet despite unlikely possibility of flooding then give up, pick sobbing child up off the bathroom floor, put hands over his eyes and flush the toilet myself. Feel a bit tired. Dress in yesterdays clothes. Smudge eyeliner around eyes and drive to nursery. Drive around the block three times because there isn't a parking space and eventually abandon car haphazardly on double yellow lines and run into school reception. Tell do-good nursery receptionist that no Finley's estranged Daddy probably won't take the afternoon off next Wednesday for football day but I would be happy to stand in. Walk away as she mutters about "Lads and Dad's" quality time as sponsored by the local council. Resist going back to pinch her pretty face and deliver clingy child to cuddly lady in classroom. Go out, wink at rooky traffic warden and drive away as fast as the law will allow me.
Hang picture in bathroom. Get in bed fully dressed because it is the only place my mobile broadband works and waste ten minutes herding nonsense around Facebook. Resolve to do some work and instantly lose connection. Re-connect and instantly lose connection all over again. Give up and go downstairs. Blitz parsley with pinenuts and call it pesto. Make gluten free pizza dough, wrap in cling-film and shove in (garlicky) fridge. Answer phone. Tell woman from portrait place that yes we would be delighted to come for a free session, but no Mark won't be with us this time. Stand scratching my fingers across the foil of a new jar of coffee and listen in astonishment as she informs me that there will be a twenty five pound fee unless we come "as a family". Snarl. Feel discriminated against. (For the second time in one day). Absentmindedly tidy can of polish away into (still smelly) fridge, then go and do arm curls to the tune of women whining on Jeremy. Worry that the window cleaner will come and see me bent in ludicrous positions with hand weights and go and close the curtains. Open them again when it strikes me people will think somebody has died. Talk to nice religious lady on doorstep. Wander into the garden and collapse in a chair with Sunday Times Style Magazine. Feel lazy and make cane cages for the broad beans instead. Go back inside and make skinny potato salad and apple coleslaw ala Kate. Empty bin and stand back in horror as yet again, lavender scented bin bag splits and sends carrot peel and mouldy tea-bags all over the holey lino. Curse like a fish wife.
Drive in a leisurely fashion back to school. Entertain minor worries along the way about the state of the nation and the man I adored as a teenagers' new hairdo. Snuggle Emma's baby Ben at school gates. Consider stealing him, then remember he will turn into another little Finley. Go in and relieve cuddly lady of said child, three paintings of sunflower "trees", and a cookery lesson salad of raw mushrooms and radishes. Head home and send child into the garden while I rustle up a coming home feast of mackerel butties, apple juice and rhubarb yogurt for him. Stand at back door and yell. Shove feet into sparkly flip flops and go in search of munchkin. Find him sitting at neighbours kitchen table drinking Ribena. Listen to him inform astounded couple that "Mummy's friend who is a man is called a boyfriend but not the kind that lives in your house, and this one isn't even really a boy at all because he's gigantic and really a teeny bit bald and he's my friend too, but GUESS WHAT he went to school with Luke Skywalker and on Tuesdays he goes ballroom dancing with Venom out of Spiderman!! ". Smile. Cringe. Worry a bit. Go back to the house, rescue mackerel butty tray, deliver to child next door and return home. Iron a polka dot tablecloth for want of something to do. Bring washing in off line and iron that too. Agree to something that begins "Mummy can I do something something something in Rena's garden please?". Stick bestest sunflower tree into scrapbook and put the other in the recycling bin. Open front door to sobbing young stranger. Fill an empty coke bottle with water and send her back to over-heated car. Wash dishes. Talk to Mum. Go to back door and find sopping wet four year old on doorstep after a run in with a garden hose. Dry him and hold impromptu photo session with towel wrapped child and teddy bear. Kiss him more than he wants to be kissed, then send him back into the sun to play football with the bronzed God who lives next door but one. Thank the lord for communal back gardens. Attempt to connect to the Internet in garden. Have unexpected success. Check bank account for unexpected deposits. Trawl Ebay. Worry about the stranger with the broken down car. Go into the lane and find her gone.
Answer phone. Have minor argument with Finn's Dad over weekend arrangements. Feel bad and apologise. Blame the perfumed bin-bag catastrophe. Put the phone down and flirt outrageously with footie playing neighbour. Because it is sunny. Remember cleavage boil and concentrate on looking busy. Get brush and sweep away leaves hiding underneath the garden table. Get hammer and fix the ironing board. Glue Green Goblins head back on. Roll out pizza dough and arrange smiley face out of chicken and red peppers on top of sauce and cheese. Resolve to eat my straw hat if child eats it. Throw parsley over salmon for my tea. Read book standing up in kitchen. Chase a wasp. Ring beauticians and book false eyelash appointment for Diane's birthday night out. Ring broadband company and scream.Get exactly nowhere. Reassure grass stained child that he won't die if he kisses me after I've eaten gluten. Reassure child that I won't die today. Reassure child that splashing water in the swimming p ool won't cause a flood. Run bath and wonder how I'm going to get him in it without exasperating fear of drowning in overflow. Talk to Luke Skywalker's best friend as he walks home from work. Giggle a bit in girly fashion. Don't tell him I've got my hand down the toilet rescuing a plastic Superhero as we speak. Scrub hands and batman. Feel irrationally happy and polish sink taps as Finn splashes in the bath and demonstrates what would happen to Doctor Who if the sea flooded all over our living room while he was visiting. Have physical fight over hair washing. Drown a bit and look like entrant in wet t-shirt competition but finally get shampoo out of his hair and breathe sigh of huge relief. Scoop him out, wrap him up and have our bestest cuddle of the day. Agree that yes child called Farrell shouldn't have kicked him three months ago and yes telling Mrs Gillard he can see her bum when she bends over would be very naughty indeed. Pick up toys. Dress babba in gingham pyjamas. Make his milk. Read The Dragon's Cold. Read it again because he says I sound bored. Become dementedly animated. Feel like a bad person. Throw in quick scoot through the escapades of Little Miss Bad in compensation. Say goodnight. And God bless. And see you in the morning. And I love you three billion and six too. And yes if the cow comes again, do shout me and I will deal with him. And goodnight all over again.
Wonder if all this is normal. Wonder if any of it is normal. Eat salmon.
So much for serene soup making and genteel bloody darning.