The first sign you’re a parent who’s celebrating their birthday is that you’re up at 4am. Not because you’re crawling in to bed after a night on the lash, but because you’re toddler has some early AM whim (cuddle/milk/extra blanket).
The next telltale sign is that no one gives a shit. Husbo did wish me a happy birthday and William did his best handwriting in a bday card but there were still PE kits to pack and teeth to brush.
The next sign is you have to go to work. I marked the occasion by listening to the finale of S-Town on my commute.
The next sign that it’s your birthday and you’re at work is that YOU have to provide the cakes. Cakes at Break is a school tradition. Potentially galling that you have to bring the baked goods when it’s your bday but I love it because my classroom is nearest to the staff room so I’m quids in for most of the year.
Another clear sign is that get the kids down in record time. TV. Bath. Book. Bed. Booooooze!
If you’re still unclear if you’re a classic parent-on-their-birthday(PotB), you need to consider your evening activities.
It’s the night of your birthday. Are you:
B) Sorting lunch boxes
C) Eating pasta in front of Line of Duty
Congratulations! You’re a PotB!
The final sure-fire sign is gifts.
Here is a typical wish list of a 30-something mother:
1) The Scummy Mummies book ✔️
2) Selfish Mother Mama jumper ✔️
3) New gym wear ✔️
4) A weekend away without the kids✔️
I have helpfully ticked all the ones I’ve asked for and generously received.
I realise I am assuming everyone else has ‘god hadn’t the year gone quickly?’ conversations over prosecco and a box set for their 30s and above birthdays but it may not be the case, of course. Can you let me know on insta, comments or Twitter if I’m the only one?!
** Was going to entitle this ‘Signs Your Mum’s Staying’ but it sounded like a year nine ‘your mum’ joke and I didn’t want to offend anyone. And now I’ve gone and offended year nines. #minefield **
Being a parent to young children is a bit shit a lot of the time. I would rate the following things as the two worst bits of having children:
1) having to be the adult
2) all the time…it’s relentless
Which is why it’s so bloody lovely to have mums come and stay because they are never-ending mothers to us therefore henceforth et voila they then have to be the grown up and we get to opt out!
Think about it/take my word for it, they are your parent and a parent’s job lot is to care for their child and mop up their literal and metaphorical mess. My children are my mess! Literal and metaphorical!
I like to hand over the reins the moment I clap eyes on mama White. Sometimes I even send the kids up ahead to get things going early: ‘Ooh, look children, isn’t that granny in the distance’
‘You mean the one warily and slowly making her way towards us emanating reluctance and a long lists of things she’d rather be getting on with?’
‘Yes darling! See you on Sunday!’
Having the grandparents visit means there is finally someone loco parentis and so that’s when I check out. I ruthlessly and shamelessly exploit my parents’ presence.
Here is a typical conversation:
Me: ‘Fancy a cup of tea mum?’
Put Upon Mother(PUM): ‘Lovely’
Wait long enough. Wait for it.
Me: ‘Oh, mum! I would’ve done that!’
Aren’t I the pits?!
But cups of tea aren’t the only sign that a grandparent is in da house. My mum leaves a trail of marvellousness behind her- sometimes, days after she’s left, I will realise she’s emptied our bins or changed bed sheets or distributed spare loo rolls or some other such helpful and thoughtful legacy from her visit.
In order to celebrate having such a spiffing mother and to celebrate all her kindness and to in some small way thank her and make amends for my quickness to shun my children and head for the hills whenever she visits, I have compiled a list of signs that mother has visited. Recognise any of them?
Everything is tidier and nicer
The washing that has been sitting the drum of the machine for three days is now out and drying. The wellies and smelly gym shoes are even called to order. It’s all tweaked and civilised.
There’s food everywhere
Thinking about what everyone is going to eat and then sourcing and making it and then fielding complaints and rejections is prob no.3 on my most hated list. But when mum’s around, so is food. Heaven.
The washing is neatly folded
Yes, you’re right, it is sorted in to orderly piles to ease the process of putting it away. Well spotted.
The kids becoming way less annoying
This may have something to do with the fact that the parent/child ratio is now 4:2. It helps immensely to have two more bods to help meet the children’s irrational, specific and ever changing demands.
No wonder we all adore her.
Although I harbour a good deal of resentment and envy towards people who have parents living nearby and on hand to step in, I know I am lucky to have a spectacular and endlessly patient kind and thoughtful non-judgemental mum to sweep in and be mum so I don’t have to. I think this is going to be the first time I use this without it being deeply sarcastic but I am ready to say I am, in all sincerity, #blessed.
I just hope my kids aren’t as entitled, lazy, needy and irritating as me when they have children. I’m wrapping up my parental duties the moment Kid2 hits 18. We can’t be too involved in grand parenting, the wig wearer and I have got retirement to be getting on with. I suppose I can always text the great-grandparents from my sun lounger.
No school runs! No work! You can turn off your alarm clock! It’s the holllllliiidaaaaays!
‘Why don’t the buggering children SLEEP IN?!’
How do they not realise it’s the holidays and they don’t need to be up at five fucking AM? They went to bed at ten last night so WHY are they up at this hour? Don’t they realise mum and dad went to bed at 11.30 after too many gins, giddy on the thought of there being no work in the morning?
‘How am I going to survive two weeks of this?’
It’s 10AM on the first Monday and the darling kids are already eating each other. Peppa Pig is on her fifth hour and even she is flagging. You could drag them all out to the coast but the youngest gets car sick. Ugh.
‘How have I spent this.much.money?’
You’ve cried twice trying to get the kids the out of the house, but you’ve hit up the joint account and bought a handful of tickets to the Dino Park. You may well have spent over £3000 and that’s not factoring in the ice creams you’ve bought to avoid shit fits. You’ve also bribe-promised a cinema trip and a zoo day. Pay day feels a long long way away…When was the last time you did any work, anyway?
‘Do I really need to go back to work?’
The kids are finally asleep and you’re mooning at photos on your phone of them hugging each other on the beach or sharing their ice creams and there’s even a photo of you and the children smiling at each other. Do you really have to work? Maybe you could home school them instead? You could live like this all the time: life would be one long holiday of pub lunches and laughter.
And then your bank statement arrives.
Back to work it is.
Until the summer holiday.
Oh god-how are you going to survive six weeks of this?!