The second child always has to settle for a few hand me downs, and one of those for little Henry has been Molly’s cot and mattress. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit I never got around to cleaning it, so when the team from Healthy Home messaged to ask me if I’d ever had my kids’ mattresses sanitised, I gulped at the thought of what might be lurking in the fibres. And let’s face it, in the lovely dust bowl we live in, children here seem to pick up coughs and colds faster than you can sneeze. Along with being prone to things like asthma, allergies and eczema.
Dear ‘friends.’ I almost unfollowed you today. Perhaps it was your impossible blue sky that got under my skin. Or that perfect beach shot you took, as you dipped your feet in glistening waters in some farflung place. Or your shiny smoothie packed full of ingredients, some of which I’ve never heard of. That killer workout you did with your makeup still intact? Or your glossy hair shimmering in the wind. Or maybe it was that effortlessly chic outfit you’re wearing that pushed me a little to the edge.
It’s 4.37am. I mutter a string of expletives as I haul myself out of bed. I spend the next 45 minutes nipping in and out, trying to encourage Henry to have more shut-eye, before he decides he would rather be up for the day. He gives me that grin that says, quite frankly, Mum, it would be boring to go back to sleep. But instead of smiling, I find myself crying. Hot, fat tears rolling down my face, quickly, without warning. I’m cross. Darn cross at the sheer exhaustion of it all. Cross at the fact the day is beginning at sparrow fart yet again. Cross at the fact that I’m already thinking ahead to how wrecked I’ll feel later. Cross over the guilt I’m feeling for even feeling annoyed, when so many people would give anything to be in my shoes.
I’ve always quite enjoyed cooking. My mum, who is a fabulous cook, ran a restaurant in our home when I was younger. As head chef, she was always racing around trying new recipes, sourcing fresh produce and whipping up delicious things. Fast forward and I’d love to say I follow in her footsteps, but truthfully I usually resort to the same old tried and tested repetoire, which loops around from week to week.
We’ve never quite been the best of friends, have we? Always at war over this and that. A bulge here, too many lumps there. Not enough lumps in the right places. Too soft. Too big. Thighs too large. Boobs too small. A wrinkle here, a crow’s foot there. Another line that shows the years we’ve spent together and all that we’ve been through.
I have opened my computer so many times over the past few weeks to write to you, but the words somehow wouldn’t flow. I even googled ‘writer’s block’ to see if that could provide me with any kind of inspiration. Instead it threw up the definition for my ‘creative slowdown’ – a condition that ranges from not being able to come up with new ideas for a few weeks, to not being able to produce anything for years. (Bear with me here, the moral of the tale is coming!)
From spag bol to meat and two veg, if you are anything like me, then you probably stick to the same old tried and tested recipes and dutifully rotate them on a weekly basis. Despite having a cupboard stuffed with cookery books from James Martin to Jamie Oliver, I’ll confess that having to think about what to cook every night of the week can feel like a real chore. Creativity in the kitchen isn’t always my strongest point, and when I do try something new, I usually find I’ve forgotten to purchase a key ingredient.
My mum and dad arrive next week. I can’t wait! Mum’s trips to Dubai usually include a whirlwind of organisation – projects that I’ve wanted to do get finished, things that I’ve craved to get in order suddenly get the Beryl treatment. (Beryl and Cheryl – “the rhyming names reflect the closeness of our relationship,” my mum used to tell me.) When the folks are around, stuff just gets done – and, above all, I’m looking forward to someone else making a few darn decisions for a change.