I’m not the bake-sale mum with perfect coiffed hair. I’d eat all the cakes, would rather endure Celine Dion on constant loop than attend football practice and my hair is decidely un-’coiffable’.
However, to go as far as admit that I am in fact the mum who cannot, for the life of her, remember to put the tooth fairy money under her kids’ pillow when they lose a tooth…E-V-E-R. Well…I’m about to admit that (as well as give you five reasons you can use if you ever need to explain why the tooth fairy never came…you’re welcome).
“She’s joking right?” you ask. Oh, but I’m not. In my pathetic defence, although I was born and bred in the UK, am more British comedy series than Bollywood drama, prefer a Sunday roast to a curry (I know, shocker right?) and own a ridiculous amount of Union Jack items from oven gloves to shoes, I did nevertheless grow up in an Indian household. We just didn’t do the tooth fairy ritual so I guess it’s a culture difference thing. I could double-check with my siblings to see if they remember it differently but I’m quite sure we didn’t get anything when we lost a tooth. Apart from a ugly gap in the mouth.
So, let me take you through the fiasco of my son finally losing his first tooth, aged seven.
He had excitedly placed his tooth under the pillow – BIG moment – and I wished him and the girls goodnight, making a mental note to fetch a coin once he was asleep. I went back down, told Hubster about the tooth and…promptly forgot about it myself. Ironically, I forgot because after cleaning up the kitchen, I got busy writing a post about what I’ve learned since becoming a mum. Clearly, I must have learned to not put the damned tooth fairy money under the pillow. Honestly, my scatty mother behaviour has become so legendary that an actual newspaper article has been written about me.
Anyway, the following morning I nearly fell out of bed with a pounding heart as I realised the mistake.
My Dreamy D: such an undemanding gentle child (when he’s not tanked up on Asthma meds) for whom the least I could do is remember his tooth fairy money.
No worries, he’ll be fast asleep; I’ll just slip it under the pillow now, I thought…before I heard him in the bathroom sounding very much awake. Cue mini heart attack. Is he kidding me? He chooses this morning as the ONE morning in the whole week to wake up early, instead of being dead to the world like he normally is?! Then I thought No problem, he’s always half asleep first thing; there’s no way he’s noticed the lack of silver under the pillow. My sick-to-the-stomach feeling now replaced by calm complacency, I popped my head around the door and smiled as brightly as I could (no easy task as I don’t usually smile til I’ve literally bathed in coffee). I nearly shrank in mortification as my son mustered up his bravest smile, tried to mask his disappointment and said:
“Mama, the tooth fairy never came.”
Quiet, flat, deflated voice. Those huge doe eyes. Go Team Prabs. #MotherOfTheYear.
I crept back into my bedroom, punched myself in the face, briefly considered punching Hubster in the face and told him about the mess-up. His response was “We are sh*t”. What can I say? He’s a man, an Aries man; they’re fairly direct but to be fair, this Aries man had a point. Yet, though I totally agreed with the sh*t verdict and berated myself for my crap parenting, I was cheesed off at the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny and all the other damned myths I have to try to stay on top of. My brain instantly fogged up with panic trying to figure out the right course of action.
In my frustration, I came up with 5 excuses I could give to explain the absence of money i.e. 5 Reasons Why the Tooth Fairy never came.
1) Toothy overslept after a mad night out with Tinkerbull (as Tinkerbell is now known because of her legendary Vodka Redbull consumption)
2) She got stuck in fairy traffic, due to an accident caused by two fairies not looking in their ‘wing’ mirrors
3) Times are tough; even the tooth fairy is affected by the poor Fairy Dollar (FD) exchange rate.
4) Wait, you were expecting money? You know what I used to get when I lost a tooth? Kleenex!
5) Your mother is sh*t
I decided against mentally scarring him any further by using these excuses and instead, the whole situation went down like this:
- I ran downstairs to fetch my wallet only to bump into Musical M (9yo at the time). Is she kidding me? She chooses this morning as the ONE morning in the whole week to wake up early, instead of being dead to the world like she normally is?! Are you detecting the pattern here?
- I hurriedly grabbed some coins. Musical M saw me. So I threw her my look. You know THE look that all of us are suddenly able to do once we become mothers. The “Don’t even think about asking me” look. Not you? Just me? Seriously?!
- I pegged it back upstairs (I swear I never knew I could moved so fast) and bumped into Cheeky K (4yo) who’d climbed out of bed, having also chosen this morning as the ONE morning…you know what, I’m not even going to bother finishing that sentence…
- I literally threw the money under his pillow not realising that Cheeky K was watching. It’s pointless trying to administer THE look to a four year-old upon realising you’ve been rumbled. A hand may have been clamped over her mouth as she started asking me questions. I can neither confirm nor deny this. You’ll have to speak to my lawyer about that.
- Now comes the rolling-my-eyes-in-shame bit (like it’s not shameful enough so far): I FORGOT TO TAKE THE TOOTH FROM UNDER THE PILLOW.
hat did Hubster do during all of this?
What, the man who can survive on three hours sleep? The man who never hits the snooze button? The man who practically leaps out of bed ready to face the day, the second the alarm goes off? (Incidentally, how did I marry someone like this? I could just thump him.) Basically, after delivering his “we are sh*t” verdict, he chose this morning as the ONE morning in the whole year to…
…go back to sleep.
Is he kidding me?!
A short while later, Hubster woke up, Dreamy D lifted his pillow again – er possibly prompted by his mother – and found money that had miraculously materialised while he’d been brushing his teeth. He ran out of his room in total astonishment to tell us both that the tooth was still there. Now, I’m a blogger. I write. Words are obviously my thing. But I have NO idea which words describe the look on my husband’s (or my son’s) face at this point.
I may or may not have crept out of the room silently.
I can neither confirm nor deny that rumour.
You’ll have to speak to my lawyer about that.
Originally published two years ago in different form. A version of it has also appeared on the brilliant guest blog series Rookie Mistakes by Life, Love and Dirty Dishes
This one’s for all the amazing mothers out there!
A while ago, I had one of those busier than normal weeks. You know, where you wonder why everything has to happen at the same blooming time. Cheeky K and Dreamy D had birthdays 3 days apart…annoyingly this happens every year…beats me…;) so I spent the week eyeball deep in baking, sleepovers and parties. You know how it goes. In the midst of this, I made my first ever appearance on radio (can you appear on radio?) and finally after much procrastination, launched this blog. And frankly it was as much as I could handle.
It also led me to think ‘How do all those other mothers do it? You know the ones: they’re at your kids’ school or you’ve known them since you all met at antenatal classes or you bumped into them at playgroup or you met them at a birthday party or…holy Henry you’re ONE OF THEM! They work, they fundraise, they organise school events, arrange elaborate parties for their kids, chauffeur their charges from one activity to another and still find time to hit the gym and have a social life. Oh and did I mention? They’re usually reeealllly nice people too. Dammit. I swear, they’re everywhere.
Take my friend D for example. PLEASE, someone take her and shake some laziness and mediocrity into her. The woman is a machine. She works as a fitness coach, she has run marathons, she raises money for Inspire etc, she does tonnes of stuff with her two kids, she rustles up healthy meals for her familia and fits in a packed social life. (And there’s no under-achieving hubby ‘balancing things out’ in the background; he’s an ultra-marathoner/Ironman type. Someone punch me in the face now.) Yet despite this jam-packed lifestyle, she still manages to get to bed by 10pm. Ah…maybe that’s the secret…but I’m sure if I did as much as her, I’d never even make it to bed. I’d either fall asleep on the stairs trying to get there or wouldn’t have time to sleep in the first place.
Seriously, I’d love to say I only know a few uber-mothers like this just for my own self esteem (and Sliema Sexy aka Marilyn Munroe, don’t tell me off for that last bit). But no…the list just goes on and on and bloody ON. The world is full of them! These super mamas who fit several lives into one life and get more done in one day than I get done in a month. Honestly, I practically high-five myself if I just make it to two supermarkets in one morning. Actually, practically NOTHING. I do high five myself when that happens.
Then there’s my sis M.E. She had to go back to work far too soon after the birth of her first child. It broke her heart. She had to put in 12 hour+ days producing conferences while trying to juggle everything including the shock of new motherhood (with a baby who also had health problems). When she found out she was pregnant a second time, she was up to her eyeballs pulling 3am sleeps because not only was she was working long days in an absurdly stressful job but she was also putting together a business by night! Add to that, going abroad for work and you have to wonder how the heck she still squeezed in time to bake, do crafts and take her son to activities! There is some help from our mum when possible but she’s not nearby. So it’s my sis and her hubby and the temporary relief provided by school/daycare as is the case for millions for parents worldwide. And yes her husband also wears XXL super hero pants. No, not because he’s big; but because his fatherly dedication is.
But this post isn’t about the amazing dads out there (sorry, fellas, I’m sure I’ll get round you at some point). It’s about the amazing mothers. Yay!
And whilst I may not be an uber-mama, I would just like to say that the other day, I did a big grocery shop, completed several laundry loads, tackled the growing mess on two of our terraces, did some cleaning, worked on the blog, did the usual 3 school runs, made waffles for afterschool tea, did homework duty, made a fab photo-worthy fisherman’s pie for supper, found time to catch 15 minutes of sofa time hugs with the babies and a cup of tea and even got them to bed on time. GO TEAM PRABS! ActualIy, I thought the real me had been abducted by aliens and was reclining on a sofa being fed grapes by minions in an alternative universe while this uber-organised impostor got busy running a tight ship in my house back on planet earth. Okay, so I may not have worked out a solution for the third world debt crisis but THIS was a very successful day for me!
Anyway, the point is, that’s not my typical day. My typical day? Well, it usually goes something like this:
– Crawl out of bed at not-early-enough o’clock, SO not ready to face the day.
– Endure the hell known as the morning routine which I guess most mothers can relate to where you literally sound like a broken record endlessly repeating the same set of requests and instructions (which FYI you’ll be repeating when they’re 18).
– Waste time hunting for the house key or the car key or my brain (or various combinations of all three).
– Accuse the four year-old of hiding the missing keys. “Prabs, why don’t you have a specific storage place for your keys?” I hear you say. We do. Thanks for asking. What’s your point?
– Find the keys.
– Apologise to four year old.
– By some miracle, get us all out the door for the school run (it IS a miracle which I aim to describe in anatomic detail in a future post).
– Drive like a mother****** (I mean drive like a mother) arriving at school, tyres smoking Starsky and Hutch stylie.
– Open my door, not before catching a horrified glimpse in the rearview mirror of breakfast still smeared on cheeks and unbrushed birds’ nest hair (and that’s just me).
– Drop off M and D, head to the second school and drop off Cheeky K and then finally drop off hubster at work.
That’s the most productive part of the day. Then it usually goes downhill, a bit like this scene from a couple of months ago:
– After drop off, I went food shopping and got home to discover one of the grocery bags was missing and had to drive back, finding it in the supermarket carpark (that’s nothing; I once had to go all the way back to the airport to try to find a baby buggy that I’d managed to forget (see 10 Signs of the Scatty Mama).
– Of course this was on the same day where I skipped packed lunches in order to take them pizza later (a plan which doesn’t always work out too well as described here). I’d lost so much time with the ‘bag recovery mission’ that I barely had time to do anything before it was time to leave again to go drop off the pizza and their rainwear. So how did I wisely use my time? Yep, by running around like a lunatic trying to find my keys for the bazillionth time in blind panic; they get a measly 15 minutes to eat their lunch at my kids’ school so delivering it even a couple of minutes late is bad news.
– I finally found the keys in the wrong bowl and pulled them out with a huge sigh of relief. Crap…they were just the house keys…still no car key. ‘No problem. I’ll call it’, I thought to myself (you know the way you call your cellphone from the landline when you misplace it and DON’T tell me you never do that). I then spent what felt like an age trying to figure out why my key wasn’t ringing in response to my call. No, I didn’t make that up. I really called my key from my home phone.
– Then I realised I a) have clearly had way too many kids so b) have way too few brain cells left and c) I seriously need a voice-activated Prabsmobile, no damned key required.
– Eventually, with the lunch bell already having rung at school and me still stuck at home (actually shouting obscenities at myself in mind-bending frustration), I called my lovely friend Baker Lady who thank God lives around the corner from me and who generously (translation: insanely) let me borrow her car. Seriously, I wouldn’t let me borrow my own car given this track record of scattiness.
– I climbed in, looked round to make sure there was a car seat I could use for Cheeky K only to find the back seats down and a ton of unmoveable stuff in the back, said my prayers about driving someone else’s car in the rain and decided not to worry just yet about where I was going to put K. One mercy dash to school in the pouring rain later (not even gonna say what time I dropped off the pizza), it was time to head to the nursery to fetch my youngest (whose face was a picture when she noticed a lovely 4×4 instead of mummy’s heap of metal).
– I crawled along dodging the ‘pools’ that form on the roads here when it rains, weather which seems to bring out the most excellent driving skills among the people of this island. Honestly, it’s like all that other dumb-ass driving they do (stuff you wouldn’t even believe) is just a rehearsal. You know the expression ‘to save something for a rainy day’? Well here, they save their really bat-shit crazy driving for a rainy day.
– Anyway, where was I headed? To the car hire people to fetch the spare key AGAIN. I tell you, it’s a good thing we drive a hire car here instead of our own because there would be nobody to bail us out if we (I mean I) lost the key to ours. I’ve done it so many times that I’m surprised they don’t just lock the door and hide under their desks when they see me coming. I’m not even going to try to describe the look on the manager’s face when I suggested I keep the spare to avoid me having to go to their office each time I misplace the original.
– Finally, most of my day wasted, I drove a nerve-wracking drive home (tense partly due to the thought that I may have to stump up a daft amount of money for a replacement key if I didn’t find the original and partly due to the number of geniuses overtaking on bends or pulling out suddenly from side roads IN THE RAIN. I honestly don’t remember how many times I reversed down narrow roads to let drivers through, all of whom can grip a steering wheel with one hand and yet none of whom can use the other hand to effing thank someone who reverses all the way down a road IN THE RAIN for them. Mind you, it is hard to thank another driver when your ‘free’ hand is busy holding a phone isn’t it?
– I dropped the car back at Baker Lady’s house and then walked home with Cheeky K both of us getting wet in the rain, only to find my own key in the very bag I didn’t bother looking in as there was ‘no way the key would be there’. By now, I literally had one hour left to eat and do jobs before heading out to fetch M and D.
– Now, we get to the bit where I honestly considered lying about what I managed to do next. I collected them both, got back in my car and started off down the road. No sooner had I turned the corner from the school than the car ground to a halt. I had three hungry kids in the car, was in the middle of a quiet residential road where I knew nobody and couldn’t call hubster for help as he was thousands of miles away on a work trip.
Why did it grind to a halt? Yep…you’ve guessed. No petrol left in the tank.
I could describe the look on the face of the car hire company manager when he turned up…I honestly think he wanted to strangle me…but I think I’ve said enough. My work is done here.
So, long story long, if you ever see me, feel free to think “I don’t know how she does it. No really, I don’t know HOW she does it!” Then cross the road and quickly walk away from me before you catch scattybrainitis.
You can also read this at:
I’m a scatty Mama.
There, I’ve said it. I wish I wasn’t. But then I guess there was never much hope that the girl who was a confirmed absent-minded daydreamer in her childhood/youth would grow up (using the term ‘grow’ very loosely here as I can just about make it to 4foot 3 in heels and hairspray) to be one of those uber-organised supermums (you know, the ones who get up at 5 a.m. to bake their own bread, have made an assortment of breakfast items by 7 am that would rival the buffet at a five star Hotel and who’ve planned the entire refurb of their kitchen on an A3 sketch pad by 8am).
Here’s how to tell if you’re a fellow scatty mama:
- regularly leave your housekeys in the front door
- ditto your phone in the car
- ditto your wallet in a different bag from the one you have with you
- have fetched one child from school and got in the car before remembering the other one
- forget to go grocery shopping or leave your groceries in the supermarket carpark
- repeatedly turn up at the supermarket without the shopping list (assuming you actually make a list…)
- often turn up at the gym without your gym kit (assuming you go to the gym ‘often’ but who am I to judge?)
- have actually managed to LOSE a baby buggy
- end up rewashing laundry, that you forget to hang out, so often that you wonder if you are actually any use to your family
- have been known to drive off with a car door open
Don’t worry. If you recognise yourself in some of the above and are feeling a bit deflated, let me ask you this: Have you thrown your kid out of the buggy because you forgot to close the straps?…
Well, I have. So you can relax because I just made you feel like the BEST mother in the world.