The school holidays have started. They have coincided with my husband being away (funny that) and a kidney infection. A better woman than me would have remained calm, collected and zen. I have never been grumpier.
“What’s work?” Olivia asked me yesterday. Well, you could define work as going down a mine for example, or being Chief Financial Officer of Barclays bank (for which you would be paid a basic salary of £600,000 and a bonus of £450,000). Or you could define work as looking after your children, for which no one will pay you. But you are expected to be eternally dedicated, grateful, patient etc.
Of course children can be a total joy and they are amazing as well as lovely, some of the time. My husband calls our children “our greatest creation” which I agree with. But for some reason half-term has turned ours into marauding lunatics, ready to kill each other at any given moment. They are not just bickering, they are violent. Yesterday the trampoline was the scene for a monumental battle between Bea and Leo. By the time I got there Bea was injured and weeping and Leo was stomping up towards the house shouting “she hurt me first”.
This goes on all day. They fight about who should sit where, who should go through a door first, who used the right crayon or the wrong one, who is allowed to look at Bea’s mermaid book, who should get in the bath, who should get out and so on. There is nothing too trivial to fight about.
By 6pm I am exhausted, depressed, angry and just about losing the will to live. So I down chilled Sauvignon Blanc at breakneck speed. By 6.20 I am on my second glass. By 6.40 I have lost count. I call it The Aperitif a Grande Vitesse. It works for me. Suddenly the arguing seems less irritating and anyway, it’s only an hour or so to go until bed. Then I can have a glass of red to celebrate.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007