The Disorganised Mother - A Comedic Look at Parenting in the Modern Age
A Light-Hearted and Humorous Look at Modern Day Parenting
Today, as I was helping my four year old child to get dressed, I realised that I had failed once again. Yesterday I triumphed, and felt a rare surge of success. The task at hand? Finding my small son a matching pair of socks. In our house, searching for tiny socks that actually look the same is like trying to retrieve a needle in a haystack. I might just add that there seems to be no rhyme or reason to this. Whilst my son might leave the house without matching feet rather too often, our house does give the impression of being fairly ordinary - at least, to the innocent bystander. We are not perfect, but we are not like the households recently aired on TV where the house is so cluttered that you wouldn't even be able to see each other across the room. Rather, it is the socks themselves. They are put into the laundry bin together, but are then indefinitely estranged. Proof of our sock problem comes from the mouth of my son himself - 'Wow, they match!' he exclaims, on the rare occasion that I have managed to get it right. It is as though he has won the lottery.
I must just mention that he is by no means the only child to leave the house in mismatched socks. In fact, I have witnessed this problem on the feet of many a preschool child. Sometimes, socks have crossed the gender gap, with boys sporting the occasional pink sock with a lacey top. My son doesn't have a sister, so there are no mix-ups there. And he is not a neglected child - he is well-fed, well cared for and always wears clean clothes (at least, in the morning). It is just the socks....
Of course, society (and parenthood) has seen many changes over the years. I am quite sure that, as a small child, I was never sent out of the house with my feet encased in odd socks or clothes belonging to my sibling. It is, perhaps, quite acceptable for the modern mother to be somewhat lacksadasical over the more trivial aspects of life. Mothers today have other dreams to chase and catch - and a multitude of tasks to fit into an ever-shrinking day. No time to spend pairing up tiny socks. No time, either, to spend hours standing at an ironing board like our peers from bygone days. My method is to iron one outfit for each member of the family when I get up in the morning. But then, I do know several mothers who never iron at all.
A Proper Grown-Up?
After residing on this planet for four decades, I have learned at least one thing - that no matter how old I seem to get, I hardly ever feel like a 'proper' grownup. Not even two children down the line. I fully expected to. After all, 40 sounds like the very epitome of maturity and capability. Most of the time, though, I still feel like a teenager stumbling along, albeit it with extra responsibilities and telling crow's feet. I think I do an acceptable job of feeding the children healthy meals, getting them to bed at a (fairly) reasonable hour, and ferrying them about to wherever they need to be. I turn the washing machine on around once a day. I vacuum, tidy up and spend copious amounts of time attending to my children's pets. What I do not do, however, is sew.
I do not sew and I do not own a sewing machine. This life-skill has so far completely eluded me, to the point where even attaching a simple button back onto a shirt presents itself as a monumentous task. Trousers that need altering, garments that get holes in - well, I will shamefully admit that they end up waiting for a visit from my own mother, who is very capable of transforming most items back into something wearable. Is sewing becoming a lost talent? Well, I do know fellow mothers who are not completely bewildered by a piece of material and a reel of cotton, but I also know plenty who are. My mother's generation could make their own clothes, from scratch, using a pattern - and that means most of them, not the elusive few. Nowadays, many people do not consider this necessary - after all, we live in a disposable world where clothes last little more than a season and budget shops offer finished garments at less than the price of material. Don't get me wrong - that's not a good thing. It encourages both the loss of once-essential skills and an environmental black mark.
The 'Restaurant' Style Family Dinner
As if socks and sewing wasn't enough, my generation of parents unwittingly gave birth to the fussy eater. A desire to see that our children are healthy and well nourished, whilst avoiding confrontation, has quite possibly led to the most chaotic family dinner table since time began. Not content with cooking a simple meal, a significant proportion of today's mothers have adopted a restaurant-style regime in which several variations along a theme are created. This, of course, is to please each member of the family with personalised dishes that harvest enthusiastic eating and avoid the mythical starving child syndrome. Believe me, I know exactly how it works. I am one of them.
Of course, offering a menu instead of a set dish creates other problems. The kitchen quickly becomes the set to a World War III film, with each and every surface covered with ingredients and every pan requiring a place in the dishwasher. Not only that, but in an ideal world, each meal will be delivered to the table simultaneously. In reality, it rarely is. By the time your little one's mashed potatoes are ready because he won't eat the other sort, whoever was served first has finshed and is ready to leave the table. All this is insignificant, of course, when you are suddenly hit with the realisation that you alone have created the fussiest and most spoilt children that humanity has ever seen. Eating out becomes an issue because none of the meals are made 'exactly how Mummy does it'. There are vegetables that are not disguised, and green things that should never be seen on a plate. The drinks have got bits in and the sauce is the wrong colour. What was supposed to be an enjoyable family outing quickly turns into a fast-track path to a stroke.
We modern mothers might have many short-falls, but we usually come highly rated as a taxi service. As a chaffeur, I do pick ups at short notice, free of charge and with a good punctuality rating. I drive to friend's houses, sports classes and parties, at inconvenient times of the day when I should be doing other things. It comes with the job - after all, we all want to see our children busy and happy.
The other night, I overlooked the fact that my four year old was still playing in the garden with the boy next door past 9pm on a school night. So did the other mother. After all, they were playing 'Sword in the Stone' with a wooden sword and a pile of mud - we didn't have the heart to spoil their fun. Besides, I was indoors struggling with Prime Factor Decomposition. This unexpected task ended up taking away ninety minutes of my evening following a huge protest from my eldest son over the severe psychological effects of homework. The task itself was, to me, an alien concept that required a search on Google before I was even vaguely acquainted. Did I learn it at school? I've no idea. It doesn't ring a single bell. I suppose I should simply be thankful for the internet.