A mother of three is being treated for exhaustion as the school year draws to a close. Our Daily Fail undercover reporter (posing as a stressed father with Man Flu) managed to obtain a copy of the hospital admissions form containing Mrs Prabulous’s own reasons for seeking help. It makes for sorry reading. Amongst her sins were:
– Failing to RSVP to birthday party invites
– Telling her youngest there were no more spaces at an after-school activity because she “couldn’t bear to spend one more minute in the effing car to get there”
– Failing to check homework folders since May April
– Hardly ever remembering ‘”that fricking library book”.
Even worse, the pint-sized British Asian mother who lives in a four bedroom house by the sea in Malta (this is the Daily Fail remember…we love to throw in totally irrelevant shit like that and pretend it’s real journalism) confessed that her biggest crime of the school year was feeling actual relief when her eldest went down with a suspected case of chicken pox forcing the whole family to miss a school event. She confessed:
“I nearly did a jig in the middle of the lounge upon realising that I was off the hook having to make entire trays of tandoori chicken for the British table at the biggest event of the school year. Wrong. Attitude.”
A senior consultant at the clinic that deals mainly in treating Syndrome of The Underachieving Chronically Knackered Yelling (SUCKY) Mother said “This is not an isolated case. We’ve actually seen a sharp rise in this sort of case over the last few weeks. It’s not unusual for stressed out mothers to be admitted complaining of lunch box boredom, school project frustration, PTA exhaustion and utter dread over ‘that stupid new maths long division method’. However, if I’m honest, this is the most severe case we’ve treated so far.
“Mrs Prabulous is not just suffering from run of the mill fatigue. Upon closer analysis, we noticed serious symptoms of general disorganisation and apathy. When interviewed upon her arrival, she admitted she:
– has considered giving her kids a packet of crackers and a jar of nutella between them and “just letting them fight it out in the playground” as she was tired of coming up with lunches that all three would finish.
– was the last parent to pay for end of year teachers’ gifts
– resorted to using her five year-old’s Hello Kitty markers to write the children’s names on clothing as she never got round to ordering name labels. Ever.
– got the school start date wrong once leading her kids to miss the first two days of term.”
Mothers at her children’s school have been shocked by the developments. “We always knew she wasn’t the most organised or involved of mothers but this is a shock” said one who did not wish to be named.
The Daily Fail’s special investigations unit has learned that the clinic was full of mothers repeatedly asking “Is it wine o’f*ckingclock yet?”, clutching crumpled unsigned class trip forms and muttering something about waiting for the bell to ring on the last day of term and collapsing at the finish line.
Doctors have identified the condition suffered by Mrs Prabulous.
It is called Sheer Relief.
It is often replaced by another disorder 48 hours later:
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The mess. Oh my good grief. THE MESS IS TAKING OVER MY HOUSE. Seriously, if you read 10 Lessons This Mama Has Learned, you may recall that I said if burglars turned up to do a number on our place (no laughing matter as we were in fact burgled six days after moving in) they would take one look at the mess in my house, decide they couldn’t work in such conditions and tidy up first.
If you thought I was exaggerating (yes I have been known to do that) take a look at this pic of my kids’ playroom:
Can’t see anything?
That’s because I’m not dumb enough to show it! It’s just too embarrassing.
Same goes for:
– the cloakroom where we keep the shoes, coats, hats and er…spare batteries and light bulbs…hang on…shouldn’t those last two be in the storage room?
– the storage room: IT equipment/cables and chargers, kids’ sports gear, bikes, all manner of beach equipment, office stationery cupboard (I could list everything that is piled high in this cupboard but a book on Marxism would be less painful to read), gift-wrapping accessories and everything but the kitchen sink…actually…no I think I did see a kitchen sink in there…
– the laundry room: what a joke…’laundry’ items make up only half of what’s in this room,
– the under stairs storage cupboard: Christmas tree & decorations, vacuum cleaner, mops and buckets and other cleaning equipment, picnic accessories, a dead body…no not really, I was just checking you were still with me.
You could be forgiven for thinking “Wow Prabs, it sure sounds like everything is neatly organised with a storage place for everything in your house”. Ha! Let me give you an example of why that is so laughable.
My eldest has (among other similar things) a 4-drawer accessories/trinkets organiser, a lovely item that she received one birthday. I think I was more excited than her when she unwrapped it in front of her friends. I may even have let out a high-pitched squeak of joy as I mentally fast forwarded to the thought of how neat and tidy her crap (up til now all squeezed in one basket) could, no would, finally be. Sorry, I tried to think of a more polite word than ‘crap’ but ‘crap’ is accurate. Let’s stick with ‘crap’. “Ooh”, I thought. “She can put her hair clips in one drawer, soft hairbands in another, hard headbands in another and sunglasses/watches etc in the last one.” Furthermore, this organiser is on her own shelf which is part of a 6-shelf unit. Pretty close to neatly organised right? How does she store her hair clips, hairbands etc? She dumps them on the shelf right in front of the organiser. I mean, you can’t even open the effing unit because it’s obstructed by all the crap that is in front of it!
Then there’s my kitchen. Oh God, the kitchen. It always looks like I’ve just had the whole neighbourhood over for lunch. How ironic. I CAN’T INVITE ANYONE OVER FOR LUNCH because the place is such a flipping mess.
My entire upstairs is worse than a hotel laundry section even though, like most Maltese houses, our place actually has a dedicated laundry room. Apparently it’s dedicated to a shocking amount of mess.
I have to say in my defense that I have not had a cleaning lady in over a year so it comes down to a choice between the routine day to day cleaning or sorting out all of the above-mentioned storage areas and guess which one wins?
And the playroom…the bane of my life. Honestly, it is such a scene of utter devastation that the toys are about to come alive and tidy themselves up. Oh yeah…I could not be happier that I literally wasted days – actually it’s probably weeks all told – of my life endlessly organising and reorganising that room, painting a blackboard onto the wall, hanging up every flipping art and craft artefact, sticking posters on walls only for them to fall down in the heat, screwing decorative plaques onto doors, setting up shelves etc etc.
I have tried:
1) the misty-eyed guilt trip approach (ah…all those years of watching Hindi movies as a kid sometimes come in handy) with the “Do you have any idea how lucky you are to even have a playroom?” talk
2) scare tactics via the “You do realise Summer’s coming which equals cockroach season and the sheer number of layers of mess in this room will provide them with the perfect home, right?” talk
3) bribery by offering the playroom up as an individual bedroom to my eldest if she gets her act together and tidies it. You’d think the prospect of her own furniture, bunk bed, girls’ den and all that privacy would have been enough for her to stay up all night for an entire week and sort out the damned room. But no. After a mile-wide smile indicating apparent delight at the idea of finally having her own room, she then skipped off to do something else, presumably totally put off at the thought of having to DO something to earn said individual room.
4) good old threats with the “If it’s not tidied and sorted by the end of the month, it’s curtains. We’ll turn it into an office for your dad” talk.
Hmmmm, interestingly, none of these four approaches can be found in any reputed book on raising kids. Weird; I thought guilt tripping, scare tactics, bribery and threats formed the four pillars of effective parenting. Oh so what? This is a How NOT to guide to parenting and domesticity, remember?
Of course, the fifth approach is intimidation: I thought of throwing a stick of dynamite at the room but I figured there’s probably a law against that. Also that’s not intimidation. I think they call it arson. Please don’t say “Why don’t you do it Prabs?” (about the tidying, not the dynamite) “They’re only kids after all.” Forget it. Please refer to above comment about amount of time I’ve already spent in that room.
Anyway, I was talking (i.e. moaning) about the general mess to a friend of mine who totally related and declared that she has given up trying to control the mess in her house. She said she has so much ‘stuff’ despite hardly ever buying anything. Meanwhile, we both know people who spend their lives shopping online at home decor, furniture, clothing and ‘department store’ sites and yet their homes are uncluttered and immaculate. However, my friend also says she never throws anything out. That’s the thing I don’t get: I do! In the last two years I’ve got rid of so much stuff. Toys have gone to the orphanage. Kids clothes have gone to a friend in Germany and my sis in Holland. Baby equipment has been sold or gone to charity and actually just this morning, I took a load of stuff to help refugees here in Malta. But you would never think I culled a damned thing. I swear it’s made so little difference that if you came over to my house you’d think “What the heck did you cull Prabs? The air?”
So at the start of the year, I decided enough is enough. I couldn’t stand it a minute longer. “I’m taking control of the mess”, I thought. “I’m going to go all Ninja and put in a serious Ikea order.” I was talking the works: those fab Trofast units for toy storage, Expedit for toy and small items storage, Algot for the laundry room. But then we decided to spend our money on more fun stuff (you know like paying bills and school fees and shit).
Then I finally realised, for the time being at least, there is nothing else for it but to accept I just can’t manage it all: the kids, the housework, the cleaning, the school stuff, the cooking thing, the running and pilates and tennis (she said sounding a bit Beverley Hills Housewife), running this blog etc. Something’s got to give. It won’t be my exercise regime (um…I haven’t done pilates or run in a month…) and it can’t be the blog. So, it’s the mess. And instead of avoiding playdates because I’m just too embarrassed at the mess in my house, I shall embrace it.
There’s a certain female chef on TV…I won’t say her name cos I’m too damn chicken…she’s Australian though. I can’t decide whether I love her or hate her. I think it’s a bit of both. I love her for the yummy oh-so-simple peach and almond tart she’s introduced into my family’s lives. I quite liked her red fruit millefeuille and Thai fishcakes but I aged about 20 years watching her slow-roasted lamb recipe (and quietly wondered if Australians don’t actually have to pay electricity bills as they seem rather obssessed with slow roast dishes which take two days to make).
Hubster recently went to Australia on business and his business contact invited him for dinner and made a roast lamb dish that took about seven hours to cook. If I roasted something in my oven for that long, the Maltese Electricity Board would hunt me down as I’d have single-handedly caused an energy crisis.
Anyway, just as I was warming to this Australian female celebrity chef whose name I’m still feeling cowardly to reveal (all I’ll give you is that she wears a lot of white), she embarks on a blueberry muffin recipe with the opening line “I love this recipe as I can make these while my kids are still sleeping so I can get lovely warm muffins in their lunch boxes by the time they’re ready for school”.
Let me tell you how the mornings go down in my house: I run around like a lunatic with wild hair trying to dress myself, reminding three kids to brush their teeth and wash their faces etc like I’m saying it for the first time each and every bloody time, locating missing library books, rolling my eyes while they take forever to eat breakfast, raiding the fridge and cupboards for vaguely healthy lunchbox ingredients and generally losing the will to live.
This woman gets up and BAKES MUFFINS.
It’s a good job she’s in Australia. It’s too far for me to go just to punch her.