Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The other mom ... and bedtimes

Somewhere out there is a mom who glides beatifically through bedtime. She is calm. Serene. She speaks quietly yet firmly and all who are in her path, listen. She does not need to raise her voice. She does not need to yell. She could be humming mantras as she walks slowly up the stairs, children following happily.

She does not scream. She is not snatching at loose limbs as they come careering past her, desperate to grab a hold and to gain control. She does not whack out at passing bottoms or heads, or yank an ear of somebody not listening. HER children do not laugh in her face when she tells them to get into the shower, or that it's time for bed. There are no tantrums or bodies thrown onto the floor in protest in her house. 

There is only calm. Peacefulness. Everyone knows their place. The routine familiar and secure. She has been perfecting it since her children were infants. Each and every one of them knows the routine, it does not vary.

In her house some nights are not television and others video games, some nights playmobil scenes which take over the whole bottom floor of the house. Late nights at the pool or dinner eaten in the garden. In her house baths are taken like clockwork, not dependent on mood or levels of dirt. Swimming does not count as bathing and lack of sweat is not a decent excuse to skip. Bathtime is a happy time of bubbles and toys and the last rays  of sun beaming down onto rosy cheeks.

Cheeks well fed with nutritious home made meals, lovingly prepared while children draw or play outside. Harmoniously. She hardly ever has to interrupt her cooking to walk outside and issue a stern word. Hardly a need to reprimand. HER children know how to behave. They are kind and courteous, even to each other and when she calls them to dinner they run inside eagerly and wash their hands and sit down nicely without scrabbling for chairs or pulling wedgies on their sisters. THEY do not spit into each other's plates or pour spoons full of food into each others water glasses. THEY do not eat with fingers or speak with mouths full of food. They never ever swear. In their house dessert happens only on weekends and no one knows what soda even is.

Teeth are well brushed and there are no cavities. Hair is not left tangled at bedtime and there are always enough socks in the morning. Clothes are not found littered in piles across the floor or thrown into the laundry because no one can remember if they are dirty or clean. There are always enough clean towels. The toothpaste never runs out.

Somewhere there is a mom who handles bedtime with gracefulness and ease. She manages to keep it fun but also stays in control, firmly but kindly. She can laugh and steer the sillyness to her advantage, so that it's a competition to see who's ready for bed first. She smooths a stray curl, tucks and kisses. Her bedtimes are reassuring and full of love. Her children never tell her they hate her or wish she wasn't their mom. And if they did she would smile and say just the right words in response.

Her bedtime is not fraught with chaos, an emotional rollercoaster of shouting and no one listening. She is never ignored or worse still, laughed at. She does not have to resort to threats or hot sauce or creative punishments. In her house the hour before bedtime is a time of calm and family cuddles. When bedtime is done, she glides downstairs into her gleaming kitchen to make herself a cup of tea. There are always clean cups and the dishes from dinner are already cleared away.

She never stumbles downstairs to piles of dishes on the counter and thinks maybe breaking them might be a sensible alternative to washing them again. She never dreams of running off into the night and letting her offspring fend for themselves for a night. And if she were to think said thoughts and maybe share them with her kids, HER offspring would never celebrate and decide that it was cause for a party. She would never walk back upstairs to find one of them wearing a pink witches hat and a pair of glasses, looking highly dismayed to see her back again and saying 'but you said you were giving up, we were going to have a party all night.'

Somewhere out there a mom glides around the house after bedtime, calm and unruffled and still smiling. Her husband smiling proudly down at her.

Somewhere out there another mom looks as if she's been dragged through the
bushes backwards, reaching for the coffee or something stronger at 9.25 pm. The house is finally silent, her partner not yet home, and she ignores the piles of dishes and bills still to be paid. She takes her coffee or something stronger and staggers onto the couch to collapse in front of the T.V. where for a few hours she gets to forget which of the two houses she lives in, before she wakes up the next morning to do it all again.