It’s fair to say the last week has been tough in the mum stakes.
Tantrums on top of tantrums – on top of more tantrums – haven’t mixed well with the sheer exhaustion that comes with being up at 3.45am every day for my new job. By the time tantrum number 3,479 has hit in the afternoon, I’ve regularly melted into a pool of (melodramatic) tears.
But today has been different.
I had nine hours sleep last night for starters. And, as I began the 45 minute commute from work to the childminder’s, I started to form a plan.
“What if I’m cheerful this afternoon?” I thought. “What if I don’t snap ‘NO’ at the slightest hint of cheekiness from my 18 month old?” “What if….” (and this was the big one) “…I attempt some form of messy play?”
So, on the journey home from the childminder’s, I enthusiastically sang along with my child’s CD of nursery rhymes and smiled encouragingly at her in the rear view mirror. I resisted the soft call of CBeebies and the sofa, choosing instead to let my daughter frolic in the garden with her walker. (Note: I say “frolic” in yet another attempt to divert from the fact she still isn’t walking.)
Frog was a bit suspicious at first. This new-found mother was not the same one who said goodnight to her last night. This mother was laughing, like the old one used to. This mother didn’t exasperatedly roll her eyes at the slightest quiver of the bottom lip.
But, as the paints and dried pasta and toilet rolls were brought forth from their dusty corner on the disused “craft shelf”, Frog’s eyes lit up.
Funny how being covered in blue paint can keep even the most persistent tantrums at bay…