It is 9.43pm, the children have just turned their switch to off and have tumbled in between their sheets. I can just hear the sound of soft snores and the hamster turning in its wheel seeping through their door.
With a smile that is 90% relief and 10% psychotic I turn from the door and walk down the hall and seek out my comfortable old chair and drop into it.
I am weary in a way that I find hard to describe.
Upon realizing the children are gone for the night and calmness has descended upon the family home, my sanity finally climbs down from the top of the bookshelf, where she has cowered all day. She disappears into the kitchen to pour two G&T’s before perching on the chair arm and passing me a glass as means of apology for abandoning me this morning.
It is hard work parenting when your sanity is rocking on the top of the bookshelf.
When I woke up this morning, I could tell my sanity wasn’t quite with it. She had got her days confused and was ready for a day in the office, she looked crestfallen where I explained that it was indeed a stay at home mum day.
My sanity dislikes staying at home in the school holidays.
We walked into the kitchen bravely together; the kids were already fighting over whose turn it was to sit at the head of the table. Sanity lost it almost immediately and headed to the fridge to grab the bottle of Pimms; luckily I caught her in time and slung a cup of tea into her outstretched palm instead.
The children were like a Wimbledon final all day, rapid, tense, bouncing back and force between moods. One second saw the twins embracing, laughing and playing in a way that made my motherly instinct glow like an electric fly trap. Then, smash, one would turn on a sixpence, and their relationship would tumble down like a pack of cards. Bickering would elevate into scrapping and sanity just couldn’t take it anymore.
It was 11.06am when she buggered off to the bookshelf.
We had all been playing Monopoly, I was the iron, sanity chose it, and I think she wanted to metaphorically drop the iron on our head at one point. The children were playing well, and then a property dispute began.
Twin boy swore blind twin girl had rolled a three, causing her to owe him £6 rent on Old Kent Road. Twin girl swore it was a four, and she owed £100 to income tax. The argument was purely nonsensical; she would rather be a fictional £94 down then cough up to her brother. Sanity started to drum her fingers on the table as the squabbling continued.
The argument gravitated to poking, sanity started to rap her hands steadily to a beat, and she began to rock.
The Twin boy declared himself a demolition business and swept his hand over the board clearing out the entire Monopoly world, twin girl burst into melodramatic tears; and what did sanity do?
Sanity went bug eyed.
I watched as she rose to her 5ft 6inch height and pointed her finger like a dart, her eyes bulged against a bright red forehead and her jaw opened wide in a bellow.
“Enough” she cried with the venom of a demon, “enough.”
With that she flounced out of the kitchen, climbed the bookshelf and sat there rocking, on occasion she could be heard humming a little tune.
I took one for the team and continued the day without her, parenting my brood without any sane help at all.
It has been a long day.
When does school start again?