I’d like to hand my resignation in. From parenting. Is that allowed? Who do I hand my notice to? I’m assuming I’ll get a pay out for all my accrued annual leave? Or gardening leave in lieu of sleeps ins? It’s been two and a half years, surely I’m entitled to something. I know it doesn’t look good to hand in your parenting notice but I’m just being realistic. I’m not cut out for this shit. I lose my rag just about every day – FOR VERY GOOD REASON – the expensive earrings that he purposely pushed down the plughole (whilst looking right at me, grinning maniacally), the purposeful pouring of water into his dinner then tipping the gluggy mess onto the carpet, his purposeful refusal to choose a breakfast cereal which then makes us late and I can’t do a damned thing because god forbid I put ricies in front of him when he belatedly decides he wants cornflakes. A rage fest of spittle, table pounding and burst blood vessels would ensue. Cereal is serious when you’re two. I use the word purposeful a lot there. It’s all on purpose. He is intent on ruining me. I know all that shit about brain development and how he’s just exploring, testing boundaries, finding himself…yadda yadda yadda. He’s trying to annihilate me, quash my spirit, break me down day by day until I cave in and let him stay in my bed 24 hours a day, with 47 matchbox cars, a bedside freezer full of ice cream, and Peppa Pig on a loop on my ipad. His ipad. Let’s get real.
Sure, he’s cute. And there are fun bits. Like tonight when he put his penis into a pencil sharpener which I found amusing for about 700 reasons. Or when he quietly asks me from the back seat if there are any flies on him – as a result of him hearing the ‘no flies on you, buddy’ cliché when I’m in jovial parent mode (happens at least twice a day – the mode, not the cliché, I have thousands of the latter). I also find him funny when he attempts to rule the world, ‘stop talking, Mummy…don’t say good morning…turn that song off….get me ice cream…I don’t like this dinner…don’t touch Big Ted’. Like I want to touch that germ infested saliva sponge anyway. And seriously, I love my son. So very much. And I’m so immensely grateful that I was able to get pregnant in the NHS dictated ‘geriatric mother’ zone; many of my friends haven’t been able to and I’m really aware of that as I whinge away. But (cue the violins), it’s such damned hard work! Parenting a two year old. Single parenting a two year old. Single parenting a two year old in a new country. Single parenting a two year old who is obstructive, obtuse, oppositional and obnoxious in a new country. I could go on.
I sometimes (ok, all the time) wonder if it would be easier if I weren’t single parenting. It’s so easy to imagine couples lovingly enjoying their Sundays together, generously swapping sleep ins and smiling fondly at one another over their beautifully behaved offspring’s heads – ‘look what we made, babe. Isn’t this just wonderful and perfect and fulfilling’. The reality is they’re probably filled with resentment at their lack of freedom too, bored with more mindless swinging at the playground on Sunday afternoon (not that kind of swinging. I find shaking hands exhausting enough these days.) And just as I’m imagining them in happy family land, they’re picturing their friends drinking and laughing at the pub with nothing to worry about except a slight hangover on Monday morning. And those friends are probably weaving their way home, looking around at all the families and feeling somewhat envious of their connection and purpose. Grass = greener, whatever fence we choose to look over.
Parenting can be really lonely. And boring. The routine every single night is the same. Cook him bland food that I swear I’m not going to eat but do, clean up the kitchen mess, bathe him, wrestle him into his pyjamas, clean up the bathroom mess, coerce him to brush his teeth (with chocolate. DON’T judge me), read books about monsters in underpants, or squiggly spider sandwiches or boring bloody roadworks and then clean up all over again. And at 7:30pm, the question I ask without fail: where the fuck is Big Ted? Those precious moments once Sonny is in his cage, I mean cot, and I should be happily injecting wine into my gums, are taken up by the nightly search for stupid Big Ted. We have a fractious relationship at the best of times; Big Ted is the go-to when Sonny hurts himself, he refuses to cuddle me in the mornings unless Big Ted is pretty much between us as some sort of manky barrier, we continuously have to drive back to the house when Big Ted has been forgotten. I swear I’m going to have hip and knee injuries, not from running for the last 25 years, but from getting in and out of the damned car to get water/snacks/library cards (just kidding, we haven’t got around to joining)/jackets/medicine/ipads/fucking Big Ted. He’s got B.O (Bear Odor. Sorry) and his face is all bent out of shape. He almost appears condescending when he looks at me. And yes, he does look at me. He judges my parenting all the time. Sometimes I kick him when Sonny isn’t looking – he saw me once and lost his shit. He’s a damp mound of polyester without feelings for god’s sake. Probably made in a factory with conditions we really don’t support. And is highly flammable. Heeeeey. Flammable…now there’s an idea.
So you see my point. I tried and it’s just not my bag. If anyone wants a two year old, I’ll pop him in an uber and send him your way. And then sit on the sofa and fawn over videos of him, like a total loser. It’s Stockholm Syndrome. I’ll be over to get him in an hour. You can keep that bloody teddy bear though.
NB: this is (mostly) in jest. Don’t stage an intervention or call social services. Do send wine.