I’m no domestic goddess…Posted: 05/09/2012
So, the house is sparkling clean, I baked up a storm while my baby napped peacefully in her cot, we then spent a happy hour engaged in some lovely, creative messy/crafty play before I popped out to whizz up a delicious home cooked meal for tea.
That is, of course, a fantasy version of my experience of motherhood.
The reality is a house that, on a good day, is slightly frayed round the edges and, on a bad day, resembles a disaster zone, and a baby that rarely naps peacefully in her cot, so all thoughts of baking during that time, or anything else for that matter, are out the window. I sometimes feel like we live in a state of near chaos. One false move and the whole thing will come tumbling down on top of us, like a house of cards.
I know this, yet the fantasy persists. The trouble is, there are so many images around me of this perfect domestic goddess that I become sucked in to thinking that I can emulate them. The friends who produce beautifully baked goods when you pop round for coffee. The blogs filled with inspiring posts on creative play with your little ones. The recipe books with easy, healthy recipes for your family. I can do all that, I think to myself, with my rose tinted spectacles firmly on.
I really should know better.
This afternoon, I decided that I would set up some fun water play for BabyGirl. We’d start by pouring coloured water into her highchair tray and float foam pieces in it for her to discover. After some wonderful sensory exploration, I thought I’d move her into the kitchen so she could splash around in some bubbles at the sink while I prepared a new Annabel Karmel recipe I had found for teeny meatballs.
That was the plan, anyway.
The coloured water was very striking on the white highchair tray and BabyGirl enjoyed sloshing it around for, oh, about five minutes max. The foam shapes looked great floating on the top, until BabyGirl tried to chew them and I had to remove them after she ended up with a mouthful. I tried giving her a few different items to scoop the water with but they went over the side of the highchair… Time to switch location.
BabyGirl was very excited to see the bubbles in the washing up bowl in the sink but after tantalizing her with them for five minutes, I had to admit that the highchair just wasn’t tall enough for her to reach them to play. Not willing to abandon my watery activity, however, the bubbly washing up bowl and BabyGirl were moved to the dining room table.
Ah, this is more like it. BabyGirl scooped the bubbles and of course ate some, but also had fun dunking her turtle bath toy in the bowl – until she lifted it out and over herself, pouring water all over her legs. Mummy actually found that pretty funny but BabyGirl didn’t look so amused. The washing up bowl on the table idea wasn’t really very effective, so I piled all the bubbles onto the highchair tray, which worked well – again, for about five minutes, after which BabyGirl seemed to loose interest.
At that point I realised that it was ten to five and I hadn’t even started making my mini meatballs for tea. Daddy was thankfully on hand to entertain BabyGirl; cue some frantic weighing and mixing (perhaps not the most carefully followed recipe…) and five hastily made meatballs out of the batch. I say meatballs but as I hadn’t added enough breadcrumbs, the meatball mixture broke up in the frying pan leaving what can only be called meat chunks for tea and a kitchen that looked like a bombs-hit-it.
Sigh. Not quite what I had in mind.
I have an image of these things in my head and it is kind of deflating when they don’t work out. I should learn to a) be a tad more organised with my efforts (ha! ‘Be more organised’ has been a new year resolution since I was twelve); b) that trying to do two time-intensive activities side by side is never going to be a good idea; and c) that it is impossible to live up to some idealised picture of motherhood gleaned from snatches of others’ lives! I’m sure nearly all real mums, even those who seem to have everything under perfect control, have similar chaotic moments. Don’t they?!
On the upside, BabyGirl wasn’t aware that what she was presented with for her dinner could only very loosely be termed as meatballs, and she yummed them up. Plus, as she had sloshed water everywhere during our play session, I decided that she didn’t need her evening bath…
Please tell me I am not alone in trying – and failing – to live up to some fantasy notion of domesticity!