I have drunk endless cups of tea with the sisterhood and finished many a bottle of wine discussing the mystery of men and parenthood.
‘Who is looking after the kids?’ my husband would ask, halfway through a wedding, when the monkeys have been delivered to a grandparent with a suitcase of neatly ironed clothes, changes of clothes, back ups, special teddies, surprise comics, maybe a preprepared dinner provided in the handover and collection arrangements finalised. This is the same story with school runs, the kids activities, holidays, weekend plans…
What makes us mums so skilled at pre-planning and organisation? Is it really as simple as our genetic make up, male v female? I have often wondered does maternity leave play a role. Mums have a chance to slowly evolve in our role and morph into our own routine. At each new stage we can grow and adapt. I have learned by making mistakes and have now perfected organisation. In our house when it comes to the kids I have it sorted.
So what happens when the centrifugal force keels over with the flu and man is forced to take over?
Well… it was amusing to listen to from my resting place, near enough to hear but not well enough to engage. My monkeys were fed, they were dressed, their teeth were cleaned and they did make it to school on time. But not without an element of chaos.
My little man was the driving force of Mission Get Us To School and I could hear him say in an encouraging way ‘Dad, the lunchboxes are in that press’ ‘Dad, it’s PE today I have to wear my track suit’. Every so often the little lady would pipe in with a helpful ‘No! I only want my spotty dress!’ ‘Can you put my hair in plaits?’ The tensions were mounting as it got closer to leave, voices were getting louder and I could hear repeated ‘where are your shoes?’ ‘get your coat on!’
To be fair aside from one lunch left behind and the little lady going to school with scarecrow hair, The Mission was a success. As the day progressed a delicious dinner was made and some general maintenance cleaning done but the usual well oiled machine was slightly out of sync and my husband while he is a brilliant cook and great with the kids, as a mum he was out of his comfort zone.
After bedtime he lay on the couch, exhausted, challenged, drained. He closed his eyes and as he started to doze he whispered ‘you make it look so easy’. Wow! Music to my ears! Even if the sentiment is short lived and all the laundry is waiting, it felt great to hear the compliment. The recognition. Us Mammy’s are great and we do make it look easy even when we are scrambling underneath, perhaps to our detriment at times when we feel under appreciated but for now I do not care. I feel silently smug and it feels good.
I have a feeling… I may be sick again tomorrow.