School went back today, and instead of feeling rejuvenated, I am like a broken old donkey, saddling up for another round of ploughing the potato field. Having three kids is not like herding cats, I've decided. It's like herding schizophrenic flying cats. Using Apple Maps.
Right now, this life is asking more of me than I have to give. Or rather, I am giving what I can, and wishing I was closer to the kind of mum I would like to be, the kind of life I would like to create. In my daydreams I am cooking, sewing, writing, creating, playing with the kids, and wearing nice outfits. In reality, this year, I am failing to wax my legs, feeling exhausted and muttering 'oh for fucksake' a dozen times a day under my breath.
I've come to realise that I can do something fun and creative with the kids, or clean the house, or have a rest, on any given day; but I cannot do all three. The bare bones of life take all my moments - banging out fifteen covers a day from the short-order kitchen; keeping the laundry-pile under control, sweeping the floor under the high-chair, stocking the cupboards with nappies and lentils and wallpaper. Any task or project I take on outside of the basics - spring-cleaning, baking, car-cleaning - requires some kind of withdrawal from the limited funds of the domestic time-bank that will need to be paid back later with a sinkful of washing up or a bedroom that has over days become so utterly carpeted in toys and clothes that is is very difficult to find exactly where the smell is coming from.
My back, by the end of a shift of carting the baby and driving the school-run, is angry and ready for rest. But once the kids are in bed, the hours are precious, and slip away so fast. I am straight in the bath when I can clock off and after that - I can blog, or read, or sew, or ctach up on the phone, or watch a show with Keith, or go to bed, or even - god forbid - put in the final couple of housewifely hours that are required to have a house that is actually all clean at one time, rather than in patches. But it's not much time. It's not enough time to do anything well. So there's a lot of feeling half-assed in every area. My mojo has flown the dojo.
I have done a little sewing lately, because after two weeks of feeling like a service industry, a black cloud was beginning to drip over my head and the dark mama was playing the woman's blues inside me. I knew I had to find myself some moment of domestic joy, some creative release, something with a longer life than a good leek tart or a fresh set of sheets. When you are losing sight of the joys in home life, and yet you are absolutely shackled to it for some years to come, you are in trouble. I really do not want to travel down some bitter path to Resentment Land, where, I'm pretty sure, at 6 pm you slam down a plate of grey eggs and snarl at your family 'Eat up, assholes. I'll be in the other room. ' I want to stay living in the place where we eat a good meal, and we laugh , and talk about our day, and raise a glass to celebrate that we are together in our little patch of sunshine.
But school holidays have kicked me in the face. It's my first crack at it this year, and I am on the whole, failing at it, I think. I shall regroup and come at the summer ones with a better plan. But you know, I feel a little better just releasing this rant and letting it fly free. Thank god for the cathartic powers of the Hinternet.
Any ideas on managing three schizophrenic cats under six gratefully received.