There was a part of me that thought Shouty Mummy would finally do one when school re-started and I wasn’t having to break up Duplo fights every five minutes, which was how approximately 70% of the summer holiday was spent.
I don’t want to be Shouty Mummy, and – as I have written before – I know that it’s my responsibility to find other strategies for dealing with daily frustrations.
But now Shouty Mummy – my irate alter ego – is cackling at me for being so effing stupid.
September = schools runs = shouting.
Mummy isn’t really a morning person, but on school days she gets up early so that she can try to shower in peace.
If she’s unlucky, Mummy will hear the littlest one ranting over the baby monitor before she enters the bathroom, but she will press on and have a wash anyway because the alternative is trying to do so while Little L bangs on the glass / plays with the toilet brush / squeezes toothpaste all over the floor.
Mummy goes to get Little L from her cot, then wrestle her into a clean nappy and some clothes. Mummy may have to pretend to change the nappies of various cuddly toys that Little L insists have done “BLEURGH, poooooo poooooo!” before any real progress can be made.
Honestly, Mummy just wants to dry her hair and finish the cup of tea that Nice Husband has made for her. Mummy checks her watch. It is 6.25am.
Mummy and Little L go back to the parents’ bedroom. Little L is placated with milk while Mummy ties Little L’s hair back. Little L passionately resists this. Mummy wields a snag-free hairband like a pro and swallows her swelling temper.
The bigger child is still asleep, so Nice Husband opens his bedroom door to help him start waking up.
It is 6.56am.
Big L staggers from his room in his Paw Patrol pyjamas. He knows he has school today, but he understands nothing – NOTHING – of how important it is that WE ARE NOT LATE.
Shouty Mummy – for now – remains in her box.
“Right, shall we get you dressed?” says Normal Mummy, trying to smile.
Mummy goes to Big L’s bedroom and collects all the items that she has lovingly washed, hung, labelled and laid ready for him.
Big L does not show any interest in this because he has begun building a fort out of the parents’ pillows, and has buried his little sister inside their king size duvet.
Shouty Mummy is firmly told she must remain silent.
“Right, let’s get pyjamas off please,” says Normal Mummy. Big L does not hear this, or pretends not to. “Pyjamas off, please!” she says again.
“I need a wee,” Big L huffs, and stomps off to the bathroom. He returns what feels like AN ICE AGE later, still wearing his Paw Patrol pyjamas.
“Why have you still got your pyjamas on?” asks Normal Mummy, exasperated. “Why didn’t you just take them off when you went to the loo?!” Big L has climbed back onto the parents’ bed and is once again busying himself with pillow architecture.
“GET YOUR PYJAMAS OFF NOW!!!” thunders Shouty Mummy, triumphant.
Big L sullenly removes his pyjama bottoms and lets them fall to the floor, settling in a heap with last night’s pants still wrapped up inside.
Nice Husband is long gone now, and Mummy is trying to apply a little tinted moisturiser.
Mummy is tired, and looks not dissimilar to something old and sad that’s been plucked out of a blocked drain. Mummy’s hair is still wet. Little L is lying in the cat’s fluff-covered basket.
Several minutes pass. Big L still has nothing on his bottom half. His Paw Patrol pyjama top is still on. “You need some pants on, don’t you?” says Mummy. “Please put some pants on.” Mummy tries not to sound as though she is begging.
Slowly and reluctantly, the pants go on. Big L puts his school trousers on – backwards.
Mummy explains that they need to be turned around. He shrugs them down, turns them over and puts one foot in a leg hole.
Mummy turns around and applies some under eye concealer. When she’s finished, Big L still only has one leg in one half of his school trousers. He is staring out of the window and thinking about Lego Ninjas.
Shouty Mummy erupts. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” she demands, “JUST PUT BOTH LEGS INTO YOUR TROUSERS!”
Big L insists his socks must go on next. It is now 7.14am.
He is struggling with the socks, mainly because he is not really concentrating on putting his feet into them.
Normal Mummy, trying to regain control, suggests that he leave the socks while she tries to make the beds and just puts his arms into his shirt sleeves. In a minute, she says, she will come and help him with the buttons.
“BUT I WANT TO DO MY SOCKS NOWWWWWW,” bellows Big L.
“Please just ignore the socks for a minute and put your arms into your shirt sleeves,” says Mummy.
Big L throws the school shirt on the floor in a fit of petulance.
Shouty Mummy picks up the shirt, helps him get his arms into it and begins fastening the buttons. “YOU ARE BEING RIDICULOUS!” she yells, while Little L toddles around the room like a drunken sailor picking up bottles of moisturiser, belts, discarded coat hangers and abandoned mugs.
The parents’ bedroom looks like a refugee camp. Nobody’s bed has been made. It is 7.18am.
Shouty Mummy seizes control of the situation. “SOCKS ON, NOW,” she insists.
Big L’s lower lip is wobbling. He wants a cuddle. Little L is very excited at the prospect of brushing her teeth and is banging on the bedroom door. “Door! Door! Door!” she is saying. BANG, BANG, BANG, she is going.
Shouty Mummy’s hair is still wet. She has only managed to put tinted moisturiser and concealer on her face so she looks kind of like a ghost.
She hastily brushes on some blusher in order that other people on the school run don’t start to worry she is terminally ill.
Everyone goes to the bathroom.
Big L stares out of the window and starts trying to talk to Shouty Mummy about dinosaurs, but Shouty Mummy isn’t having any of it. “OPEN WIDER, PLEASE,” she demands, and brushes his back molars.
Everyone goes downstairs. Shouty Mummy’s nerves are stretched to snapping point. It is 7.34am.
Shouty Mummy insists everyone goes straight to the kitchen and sits down. There will be no faffing with toys or books or magazines.
Shouty Mummy clatters around the kitchen putting Weetabix in bowls, crumpets in the toaster, snacks into the snack pot, water into the water bottle, supplies into school and nursery bags and dog food into the dog’s dish.
Normal Mummy is in there somewhere and she knows this is all ridiculous, but she kind of feels like crying.
Mummy fills in some paperwork for school and nursery and puts it into the right bags. She makes sure everyone eats.
Big L only has to be asked three times to put his shoes on. This represents some kind of progress.
Everyone gets into the car, and the traffic isn’t too bad. Shouty Mummy is disappointed by the lack of opportunities for beeping.
The children are dropped off. Mummy drives home to witness (and tidy up) the detritus of the morning so far.
Mummy makes a cup of tea and resolves to be less Shouty tomorrow.
This afternoon, she tells herself, I will make Big L a Morning Routine Reward Chart.
Tomorrow, she tells herself, will be better.