When a family of 11 moved in next door – I freaked. OK, so 8 of them were kids, but still, we are in suburbia here, not the wilds of Blue Ridge Walton Mountain where a chain saw and football team of siblings can go largely unnoticed, and there is no forest to sound proof the daily life from the other side of the fence.
On their moving in day I remember twitching the curtains and huffing as another car pulled up and more little people trailed into the house. ‘We have to move’. I thought.
Fast forward two months.
7.35 am, I am twitching the curtains again. You would think I would have better things to do, as Lily hangs onto my leg, screeching. She has managed to turn the TV off again and the blackness staring back at her is sending her into a frenzy. I, meanwhile, am snooping transfixed as half of next doors brood , skip up the road to school. I expect, hair pulling, litter throwing, loud mouthed little shits. But what I am experiencing is nothing short of a ‘Doe a deer a female deer’ moment. Perfectly groomed, smiling and orderly children. The older ones are protectively shouldering the tiddlers, their backpacks, bigger than their backs, hunched up, but precision packed.White socks and shiny shoes.
It takes me a moment to close my mouth as I turn my attention back to the room.Lily is now head first in the wardrobe and seems stuck. The floor, scattered in unpaid bills, she has strewn in protest. Red crayon loop the loops a white wall. Less than five minutes….. I should have never turned my back.
So how come, I wonder, does Super Mum next door do it ? Eight kids, that’s eight times the cooking, washing, packed lunches, bum wiping and meltdown control. I know she bakes. The waft of fresh bread and spicy stews floats its way over into my guilty conscience most days. I cannot even muster up enough energy to hold Lily down , to lock her into the car seat some mornings…….
Whatever the matriarch mum does it clearly works. She should write a book on it. I am in awe of her capability as a mother and in turn, I am taking a serious look at my methods and reasoning of I- CANNOT -DO -THIS. – WHAT ? WHY ? I only have one to take of !
Does this make a crap mother ? No, I think its makes me normal. I am dealing with what I have to deal with and like anything , when faced with the situation , you get on with it. If you have one kid – you deal. If you have 10 kids – I guess you deal. So I am not going to beat myself up over this. I am not going to try to be what I am not. I will deal and in turn ,so will Lily. OK, so sometimes its only cheese sandwiches and tinned peaches that I manage to scramble onto the table, but, I am not a Walton and not keen on blackbird pie, I don’t do dungarees and last time I checked the other half does not have a saw mill in the yard… so on that gratifying note I bid you goodnight…..’Goodnight Grandpa. ………Goodnight Elizabeth’.