You know how your kids have an afternoon routine when they come home from school? Some like to finish their school lunch in the car, others like to watch a little T.V. Well, my boys have a lovely routine after school, and it helps me get a lot of extra work done because my youngest will drink a bottle in the car on the way home and fall asleep, so upon arrival at home I can pop him in his bed and he sleeps for a good three hours. My eldest will chatter away in the car and so when he gets home, he likes to play quietly in the lounge whilst watching T.V.
Sounds so peaceful, right?
Then there’s the day you really really really need this routine to go smoothly so you prepare yourself, you plan the longest route home from school to make sure the little one definitely falls asleep, you’ve left all the older ones toys exactly where he left them before going to school so he just carry on with his game.
Then crunch time comes and a guy we call Murphy decides to come along for the ride.
It’s extra cold for the first time in months, so the kids have had no outdoor playtime at school, they are wired and crazy in the car, giggling and teasing each other. I stop at the water place to fill my water bottles and grab each one a small juice to drink in the car.
My first mistake.
I had to stop at the office to pick up a few things and usually the boys are chilled, relaxed, calm and ready to fall asleep. Nope, not today mom, not on this very important day that you need to get stuff done.
I hear them giggling in the car, they have discovered how to squirt the juice out the bottles if they press them hard enough. They are covered in juice, sopping wet and sticky.
I decided to head straight home, cause the chaos isn’t going to lessen if I keep driving.
At home, they are all cleaned up and watching T.V. I am trying to get some work done on a borrowed laptop (cause my laptop wasn’t finished being worked on.) The kids are going crazy, I hear giggling, shouting, yelling, crying. Here’s what happened in the space of two hours.
The youngest had taken off all his clothes, nappy included, and refused to get dressed, it’s 10C outside.
The two of them had collected every single pillow from around the house, bed pillows included, and made a soft ramp behind the couch and proceeded to jump on it, off it, through it. In the process ripping the lounge curtain rail off the wall with the curtain.
Baring in mind there is an estate agent coming to photograph the house the next day as our rental is up for sale.
So, I manage to get the little one back into his clothes. Someone arrives to collect a donation (I run an organisation called Mommy Pantry) and I am outside chatting with the lady for about half an hour. I come inside and the kids have decided to serve themselves chocolate Pronutro (Thank Jesus with no milk) and are sitting at their table in the lounge eating, dry Pronutro, and making a huge mess all over the carpet, the kitchen is covered in Pronutro, my dogs are licking the floor and my boys are covered in streaks of chocolate all over their faces.
I gave up.
I couldn’t anymore.
I just calmly started cleaning up, packing away pillows, wiping up dog spit and dry Pronutro off the kitchen floor, stared at my destroyed curtain rail and messaged my husband to send wine.
Cause sometimes, just sometimes, the afternoon will throw one curve ball too many, and that’s when I just say, okay, no more fighting to win. Just clean up and start again tomorrow, cause if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this parenting gig, you fight the battles you know you can win today, the rest can wait for when you have more energy or a better strategy or the stars align.
Whichever comes first.