Do your children keep you cheerful?

Posted Sunday 20th April 2014   By Ericka Waller

So we are into the second week of the Easter holidays. I’ve spent every day of it with my three rambunctious children. When they finally deign to sleep at night, I’ve been slipping, wearily, into their cold bathwater. Rooking round for the rubber ducks that poke me up the bum and thinking how exhausting it all is, being with my offspring.

We’ve been on dog walks in the 6am fog, with me playing Fireman Sam rescuing them from smoky buildings: “Do the voice mummy!”

We’ve been down to the beach looking for stones with holes in and digging for gold: “Can we take this stone home mummy? Ooohh and this one, and this one. Now chase me like a pirate!”

We have stood at the edge of the sea, throwing pebbles for the dog, who looks on bored: “Mummy, why is the dog broken, and can we change his name to Moomin?”

We have been on a teddy bears’ picnic at the top of the beacon: “Mummy, where can I do a poo?” 

We have chalked round our shadows, and made a banana cake with the gone-off fruit: “I’m not eating those slimy poos mummy.”

Afterwards, I tell The Husband how knackering it is, how tired I am. How I need to complete my to-do list of very important jobs (clean out oven, sort recycling, like my friend’s Facebook photos).

We have serious conversations about bills and diaries and grown-up things. The more we talk, the more the weight of being a grown-up falls on me, like all those stones from the beach dropping on my shoulders.

Life is easier when my phone is beeping away in my pocket, but I can’t get to it because I am wearing one child like a hat and another is pulling my jeans down. How easy it is to solve their problems: “Mummy, in Fireman Sam, they always say trouble is coming, but he never arrives?” “Mummy, if I touch a scissor will I get dead?”

I go from this innocent banter, toffee sweet, to pulling my hair out over problems and stresses that never seem to resolve themselves. I far prefer the me who joins in with her children’s games. The me who surprises herself with her carefree dance along the underpass.

I’m far better at that than this ‘being a grown-up’ nonsense.