If It’s Hard for Me, It Must Kill You

This is my now: sitting on the loo, feeding the three-month-old sat at my feet in her car seat while the five-year-old splashes in the bath. I’m typing this with one hand and intermittently reminding the five-year-old that we don’t drink bathwater.

It is the cherry on the shitty-stay-at-home-mum day I’ve been having. We had an infestation of ants in the kitchen. Winged ants. Winged ants flying about in my kitchen, landing on things and marching in single file across my countertops. And me, spinning around like a madwoman with the hose attachment from the Henry arcing through the air like some demented Ghostbusters knockoff.

And before that, the three-month-old did her most epic I’m-beginning-to-teethe shit, staining through one nappy, two onesies and one pair of baby LulaRoes.

That was just moments after the five-year-old decided to relocate half of the lounge’s soft furnishings, DVDs and his toys onto the stairs.

Soon my husband will come home and the whirlwind will be over. The baby will be cooing and dribbling on the chunky fingers in her mouth. The five-year-old will be quietly colouring, his tummy full from dinner and dessert and husband’s dinner will be waiting on him, warm and comforting. He’ll eat in solitude, concentrating on his food. Not the way I ate: my right foot rocking the baby in her bouncer, trying to coax her to sleep; reminding my son ad infinitum that peas are food, not Lego man grenades or footballs. By the time I get around to my dinner, it’s cold and scarfed down because it’s bath time. And that, dear reader, is where you came in.

Days like today (and let’s be honest, most days are like today) always make me wonder how single parents do it. Although the housework is divided into an unfair ratio of 95 to 5, at least I have someone intermittently picking up the slack. At least I get that 5 per cent. You, single parents, are true rockstars.

I wish I could take you all out for a drink. Better yet, I wish I could swing by and do the laundry or cook you a meal while you have a nap and put your feet up. You’re a superstar and you’ve got this parenting thing cracked. Trust me; from where I’m standing, you are worthy of looking up to.

American in Britain • Confessionalist voice, exploring narrative essays, BAME topics, pop culture, parenthood, obesity, race, travel, literature and food.

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