I’m in the pantry.
1,2,3…breathe, breathe, breathe.
The toddler has dumped an entire tub of yoghurt on the baby. It’s everywhere. Everywhere. They are dragging themselves through it. Joyfully spreading their fingers out, further pushing the white gunk around. Addison is standing at the door begging for the iPad. But each channel gleefully splashed the story last night of how bad screen time is for kids. How badly Australian parents are handling their children’s usage. Shame, parents, shame. But maybe just now, to stop the screaming. Just for a moment.
4,5,6….stop, stop, stop.
The boys are screaming now. All morning, screaming. At each other, at me, at nothing; and everything. We went out. I missed my Gym class and Phoenix broke free of my grip; hurtling towards a BMW in the car park. Stopped only by a nice lady who took pity on my toddler son and decided he should live another day. I apologise profusely, thanking her. “It gets easier.” she tells me. I nod. My smile is tight. Today is not the day it gets easier. We are home. The house is trashed; the washing lays waiting, staring at me, demanding I keep up. Why can’t you keep up? The washing, the house…appearances? I have a list of things to do, errands to run. Nothing gets done. The kids need me. “What do you do all day?” That’s what they ask. Lazy Mums who stay at home.
7,8,9….Knock, knock, knock.
I’m just so tired. The baby woke every couple of hours. I wish I could sleep. Maybe in here, just for a second. You have to come out of here eventually. They need you. They all need you. And they’re yours. You should be out there managing this. This is your job. Why aren’t you doing your job? Why aren’t you thankful for this moment? For every moment. Live in the moment. Not this one, I can’t. I just need another second to breathe. To realise we need groceries. And I haven’t finished planning Smushy’s party. And you haven’t been to the shops for presents yet Merrill. And at some point you have to get out of this space and back into theirs. Addison is knocking louder now; the sound reverberates in my head, pushing the thoughts aside. She is jostling for space in my mind, in my moment.
10, 11, 12….breathe, breathe, breathe.
They are all at the door now, waiting. Quiet. They have fallen silent as they realise I am not there. You are their world and they need you. You can do this. You are not alone, you are fallible, it’s OK and so are you. One more second. Open the door. I am here, here I am. I love you. I love you. I love you. I am sorry. You need me. I am here.
“I missed you Mummy.”
“I missed you too baby.”
Close the door. I am ok. We are ok.
Tomorrow is a new day. And this is a new moment.