The Teaching Mum

A light-hearted look at parenting through the eyes of a very busy English Teacher.


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The Trials and Tribulations of Modern Day Motherhood: #2 The Relaxing Bath

It had been five days since she had washed her hair and in that time she had been out running; been caught in the rain and been in the line of fire when her two year old decided that on Wednesdays he hated scrambled eggs.

Once upon a time in a land far away and in a world without her children, Carrie used to wash her hair every other day. Her long, luxurious, golden locks would be emerged wholly into the bath where she would lay and contemplate the true meaning of life while bubbles crackled around her head. When she was ready, she would reach for her shampoo – an exclusive purchase from her hairdressers – and soap up her hair. Once the shampoo was rinced out and the £5 a bottle of conditioner was evenly distributed, she would reach for the hot tap for a top up of warmth and then grab the Kindle that was waiting patiently on the side and she would read and read and read. Bath time, once upon a time, was heaven.

The last straw came on Friday night when her six year old used her hair as a tissue. That’s right, Carrie’s six year old daughter – who was able bodied and two metres away from the box of tissues – sneezed and then rubbed her nose in her Mum’s hair in a pathetic attempt to ‘snuggle’ her. The sight of the sickly green slime that coated her hair made her gag.

“Get off me!” Carrie yelled, knowing full well that a six year old girl’s cuddles only came at a price, usually when she wanted something or needed something.

“I just want a cuddle,” came the muffled voice buried deep within Carrie’s hair.

“What’s that on my ear? Ewww, why is my ear wet. Get. Off. Me!”

Yanking her daughter off her and placing her unceremoniously on the carpet, Carrie glanced at her eldest child and saw tears of hurt glisten in her eyes. Soon, however, Carrie realised that the thin sheen glazing over her daughter’s left eye was not tears at all.  Nope, it was snot.  It seemed that while she was being pulled from the inner depths of Carrie’s hair, she had retraced her slime spreading steps and retrieved some of the goo that had been moisturising Carrie’s split ends. For the briefest of seconds, Carrie considered leaving her hair another day – after all, most of it was out now and it did have a shimmer to it – but the sheer disgust she felt in both herself and her daughter made her change her mind.

When did this become her life?

“Out! Out, all of you,” Carrie shouted as she gathered up discarded shoes and coats in the hallway.

Moments after ‘Snot Gate’, Carrie had persuaded her husband, Chris, to take the children out to tea and within ten minutes the three of them were packed up in the car.  Silence engulfed Carrie; it wrapped its arms around her like an old friend.

The hot tap coughed and spluttered into life as she looked for some bubble bath she may have received as a Christmas present five months ago. Alas, adult bubble bath was not to be found so Carrie had to make do with a bottle of Mr Matey.  Davey the Seaman – ‘a pirate with heart but with an aim like a dart’ – glooped out into the running water. How had she not noticed the inappropriateness of this bottle before?  Ah, yes children – they had turned her brain to mush.  The hot tap continued to fill the tub and as it was doing so, Carrie started to empty out the toys currently residing in the tub. Out came Batman, two dinosaurs, three cars, Woody (who was missing his hat), four Kinder Surprise Egg toys and Barbie.  Barbie was looking somewhat dishevelled and was wearing a ring of dried white suds around her midriff. Clearly, Davey the Seaman had squirted on her during the previous night’s bath… The kids were always bloody squeezing excess soap suds everywhere.

Steam started to circle the air so on went the cold tap.  In that moment, Carrie disappeared to grab her Kindle, undress and grab her robe.  Eventually, the bath was ready; Carrie lowered herself into it slowly and watched as her skin turned pink in the heat.  Slowly laying back, she allowed the water to climb up her spine as she accustomed herself to the hot water . Her Kindle, balancing precariously on the sink, waited for her. Inside the cover it contained worlds she had not ventured into for such a long time and characters, whom she would once refer to as friends, were now merely strangers on a page waiting to be acknowledged.

Once she was fully emerged, Carrie reached for her Kindle and opened it.  Its glowing light entranced her and immediately she was hooked. The opening chapter set the scene wonderfully and as colourful metaphors began to formulate images in Carrie’s head, she heard the front door open and bang shut.

She didn’t move.

Didn’t breathe.

Perhaps if she stayed quiet they wouldn’t know she was there.

Naked.

Vulnerable.

Alone.

A thunderous noise hit the staircase and began its ascent to the top. There was the briefest of pauses before the bathroom door was slammed inwards and her children entered with a barrage of questions.

“Mum! What are you doing?”

“Having a bath,”

“Mum! Where is my tablet?”

“Downstairs where you left it.”

“Mum! Where’s Woody?”

“Down there.”

“Where’s his hat?”

“Ask Batman,”

“Mum! Shall I wash your hair?”

“No!”

It was too late. The six year old had already lathered up and her hands were already massaging her scalp.

It was only then that she realised her two year old had been uncharacteristically quiet and that she could feel something attached to her big toe. Recoiling in horror, she realised it was only Batman and he was wearing Woody’s hat.  She made a mental note of that when so a future meltdown could be averted.  Floating around her now she could see three out of four of the original cast of Ghostbusters moving their way slowly past her stomach. She wondered where Dr Venkman was and thought she saw him pop up between her legs before realising that it was the tail of the plastic T-Rex that had been lying on the bath rug a few moments earlier.  She had purposely placed it on its side as its arms were rendered useless when lying down so clearly this T-Rex had received a helping hand back into the bath.

“Okay, okay, this has to stop now!” Carrie screamed as the T-Rex was flung across the room.

Strategically placing bubbles around all the areas a woman needs bubbles, Carrie kindly asked her children to back away for one God damn minute so she could rinse her hair. Emerging once again into the now cooling water, silence filled her ears as the water rushed in.

“Mum!!! I need a poo!” came the unmistakable desperate tones of a two year old in need of a dump.

Carrie immediately sat up straight in the bath, displacing all bubbles and discarding all that was left of her modesty and barked instructions to her daughter to get her brother’s pants down and get him on the potty.  Once this was done, both children – one on the floor and one red-faced and straining on the potty – sat silently facing Carrie just watching.  Goosebumps began to slowly climb her arms and Carrie couldn’t tell whether this was due to the bath now being lukewarm or whether it was due to the unsettling way her children were just staring at her in a way that reminded her of the spooky twins in ‘The Shining’.

The silence was broken with an almighty crash.

In stormed Carrie’s husband looking red faced and desperate.  He walked briskly towards the toilet, lifted the lid, unfastened his jeans and sat down and a look of relief washed over his face.

“You’ve been in here for ages!  Sorry, I couldn’t wait any longer.  Look at you laying there like Lady Muck enjoying her hot bath.  Enjoying that are you?”

Carrie’s stern eyes spoke a thousand words and Chris immediately shut up.  As husband and wife stared at each other – one on the bog and one in the bath – naked, vulnerable but no longer alone, her son stood up from his potty, bent over and shouted.

“Mum! Wipe my bum!”

Lady Muck indeed.

 

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A Little Plea to RSVP

Mummy was starting to feel stressed about her daughter’s party so she penned a poem about the importance of the RSVP.

A little plea to parents everywhere,

Please help me out before I despair.

Standing before you is just another mum,

Persuaded by her kid to do something dumb,

My daughter she begged for a party at soft play,

Invites were sent – well over twenty I’d say.

Weeks are passing and it’s nearly time,

But my RSVP list shows only nine.

“How many days now?” she asks me daily,

“Have you heard from Luke’s mum and what about Kayleigh?”

I nod and smile and say “it’s just a few weeks,”

As I glance at my phone and pray that it beeps.

I know that you’re busy, hun. Us parents always are,

But RSVP and I promise you a pint because there’s a bar.

Please let me know if little Alfie can make it,

So I can buy a Colin Caterpillar cake – hell, I might even bake it.

Modern life is manic so I will cut you some slack,

But what do I have to do to get you to text a mother back?

I can offer you sausage rolls, sandwiches and of course, Haribo,

Please just tell me if I should expect young Jo,

I’ve got to make the party bags and plan a game or two,

All I need is a simple yes or no from you.

I’ve given you my number and I have told you the date,

If your child loves Wotsits, I’ll provide a whole plate,

I’m writing this in the hope you’ll find it funny,

But seriously, I’ve parted with quite a lot of money.

That’s it, it’s the end of my little plea,

I look forward to receiving your RSVP…😬😊😉👍


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The Trials and Tribulations of Modern Motherhood: #1 The Nativity

It began with this:

Monday evening

“Mum! Mum! I’m Angel Number Three!” my daughter shouted as I entered the house.

“That’s great, Sweetheart,” I said as I threw my coat and handbag down onto the sofa.

“Miss Crawshaw told me not to worry because she understands what you’re like and that I can just borrow a costume from Class 3’s dressing up cupboard…”

“What do you mean ‘she understands what I’m like’?” I interrupted.

“Well, you know how you took me to school on an Insect Day on the first day back after Easter?”

I nodded as I grimly recalled the morning of the said ‘Inset Day’ when the elderly caretaker sympathetically looked at my daughter dressed up in her uniform all ready to learn before slowly raising his head up to me where his gaze fixed on mine while he slowly shook his head in disappointment. Had I not read the newsletter he’d asked. Had I not noticed the empty playground he wondered. ‘There was a newsletter?’ was my reply.

Forcing me out of that guilt filled memory, my daughter continued. “And you know how I was the only one in uniform during last year’s Children in Need day and Mrs Gilbert said that we would have hit our target of £500 if only you had managed to bring that damned £1 in?”

Again, I nodded.

“And remember that time you didn’t know it was Sports’ Day and you had to run home and get my…”

“All right! All right!” I yelled.  “That’s enough Mum Bashing for one evening although Miss Crawshaw does have a point, I suppose.  What are Class 3’s costumes like?”

“She ain’t wearing a borrowed costume!” came the dulcet tones of the husband cooking away in the kitchen.

Christ on a bike – now that would make for an interesting Nativity – rolling my eyes, I asked “When’s the Nativity?”

“Friday,”

“Shiiooot,” I swore. “How long have you known about this?”

“Since last Wednesday,” was her reply.

“Why am I only hearing of this now?”

“It’s in the newsletter,”

“Where’s the newsletter?”

“In my bag,”

“And where is your bag?”

“At school on Sophie’s peg,” she tutted at this point to emphasise her outrage at my not understanding why her bag would be anywhere else but Sophie’s peg.

“Why Sophie’s peg?”

“We were pretending to be each other,”

Great.  Fun game.

“Oh, and Mum…I’m not Angel Number Three. I’m Angel Number Two; I’m still pretending to be Sophie.”

Later that evening after my children had gone to bed (and after learning that Sophie’s mother had hand stitched her daughter’s angel costume), I logged onto the internet and ordered some angel wings and a halo and then paid extra for a swift delivery.

After digging out my daughter’s bridesmaid dress from the previous summer, we were good to go.

Tuesday Morning

I ordered the Nativity tickets. Two for me and my husband and two for the In Laws.

“It’s the dress rehearsal today,” I was informed by Rita the over informed head of the PTA.

“I know, I know,” I lied. “I’m just waiting on the wings to arrive.  They’re due today.”

“Don’t worry,” Rita assured me, her voice lulling me into a false sense of security. “I’ll make sure Daisy stands at the back of the stage so no one notices her in her uniform.  If we take off her cardigan, the other kids might just think that Angel Number Three likes to wear white cotton T-Shirts whilst carrying out The Lord’s business.”

I wanted to punch Rita square in the face right there and then, but the tears of guilt welling up behind my eyes would have surely effected my blow.

Wednesday morning

Praise the Lord our Saviour – our angel wings arrived on Tuesday evening.  It was made clear to me then that Christ was looking down upon us and saw fit that the Yodel driver sent to us from Devon was speedy and had an up to date version of Google maps.

Barely unable to contain her excitement, Daisy immediately squeezed herself into her bridesmaid dress, put on her wings and halo and marched up and down the house reciting her one line of ‘Baby Jesus is here! Let’s celebrate with a beer.’ ‘Let’s celebrate and cheer!’ I kept shouting after her but to no avail.

It had rained over night and the frost that had bitten at us during the previous morning had disappeared only to be replaced by mud, puddles and a slight bit of slush left over from the previous weekend’s pathetic attempt at snow.  I had everything bagged up, labelled and ready.  Rita was going to see me for the Mum I truly was: organised and with an impeccable taste in angel costumes.  Yes, my slightly wonky and dented halo was going to shine bright this morning.

“Get your shoes on,” I said patiently to my children.

“Shoes on, please,” I repeated.

It was like I didn’t exist.  I decided to give Daisy and her little brother, Jack another few seconds to make the right decision.  Picking up my handbag, Daisy’s school bag, her coat, Jack’s bag, Jack’s coat, the bagged up bridesmaid dress and a third rucksack containing Daisy’s shoes for the Nativity, I tried again.

“Both of you.  Shoes on, please.”

Nothing.

“You need to put your shoes on now!”

Both of them looked at the shouting clothes stand with blank faces and then continued to do what they were doing, which was absolutely bloody nothing.

“SHOES. ON. NOW!”

Bugger.  The rapid projection of my voice caused me to drop three out of the four bags I had been holding but at least the munchkins were finally putting on their shoes and ten minutes later we were all packed up and in the car and ready to drive to school.  Yes – ten minutes had passed because shoes were put on the wrong feet and I had to run upstairs at least three times to check that my hair straighteners were switched off and unplugged.

When we arrived at school, I found that, as usual, all of the parking spaces had gone and no way on earth was I going to park on a junction again after receiving a rather unfriendly and frankly threatening note stuck to my windscreen the previous week informing me that ‘in the future, I should park in a proper parking space.’ No, that was not happening again so I parked up the road a little further – just a minute’s walk from the school – and made sure I was away from all junctions and all houses with twitching curtains.  My children climbed from the car.

“Can you hold your bags?” I asked.

“No, Mum,” came their helpful reply.

“Put your coats on then,”

“Nope!”

I climbed out of the car and hung the bags from my arms, hooked the coats over them and lugged the bagged up bridesmaid dress from the back seat.  The dress, that had been hanging on a coat hanger, slipped from the bag as I attempted to hook it around the third arm I wished I had.  In slow motion, I watched as it fell onto the cold, wet, dirty pavement beneath my feet and at that moment, that very single moment, Rita pulled up just a few metres in front of me – on a sodding junction I might add – and looked on in disgust as I scooped up a now sopping wet bridesmaid dress.

“It’s from Marks and Spencer!” I called.

She couldn’t give two fucks hoots as she ushered her children into the school away from mine.

Thursday

By the time Thursday came along, I had lost two out my four Nativity tickets.

After searching high and low for them, I resigned myself to the fact that I would just have to create some counterfeit tickets using the colour photocopier at work and a pair of scissors.

It worked a treat so if you ever need to get out of the country fast and need a passport, I’m your gal.

Thursday afternoon came around and I was seated at my desk with a classroom full of Year 8 pupils when suddenly, the idle phone laid on my desk lit up and buzzed. Glancing at my screen, I could see the message.

I’m at the school, it read, I’ve got us some great seats.

“Nooooooo!” I yelled to my classroom of kids.

“What is it, Miss?”

“Oh God! Who’s died, Miss?”

“Miss! Do you need me to take over the lesson? I feel that I am ready to teach the class the difference between Quantum Physics and Metaphysics.”

“Liam, you’re in a French lesson.”

As it turned out, my Father-in-Law had turned up for the Nativity a day early and was currently sitting through the junior school’s version of the Birth of Christ rather than the infant’s version.

More worrying, however, was that he made it in to the school without a ticket. My undercover counterfeiting had all been for nothing.

Friday

Nativity D-Day. Lines had been learnt, songs had been sung and Daisy’s tummy, she informed me, was filled to the brim with wriggly worms and fluttering butterflies.

I left work early and left my Year 8 French class in the more than capable hands of Liam and made my way to Daisy’s school.

Waiting for me there was my husband, my In Laws and my boy, Jack. We took our seats and the show began.

Standing centre stage, the angels looked simply angelic and my girl looked beautiful and I could only stare on, beam in pride and pray to the little baby Jesus that she remembered not to say ‘let’s celebrate with a beer’. Jack, being two, is no good at sitting still for anything longer than seventeen seconds and I could hear him stirring at my side. I shushed him and he responded by blowing a raspberry in my direction. He then continued blowing them in all directions (aimed specifically, I noticed, at fit dads.) Our own fit dad noticed his son’s yobbish behaviour and handed him his phone with You Tube open and ready to go.

“No!” I mouthed. “What are you doing?”

“It’s on silent,” was his reply.

It wasn’t on silent.

And just as Mary and Joseph were lifting their miracle baby – The Son of God – to meet the five angels, the familiar theme tune of everyone’s favourite 80s film about ghosts rang out and filled the quiet hall.

“Who you gonna call?” Jack sang out.

Up on the stage, for all to see and hear, Joseph – Rita’s number one son – yelled out in his loudest and most theatrical voice…

“GHOSTBUSTERS!”

It appeared that Rita and I shared one common interest: sons who seriously dig ‘Ghostbusters’. Although, I doubted that we would be talking about it over a coffee any time soon.

Merry Christmas one and all.  Let’s celebrate with a beer.

Certainly not Daisy and definitely not Angel Number Three

Certainly not Daisy and definitely not Angel Number Three…