I’m about as secretive as those tongs your doctor used at your last pap smear. That is to say, not at all.
So I found it difficult to control myself when, mid sentence, another mother interrupted my tirade on the frustrations of organising my children to do just about anything (in this particular instance to get to dance class), with a “Do you do that too?”
To which I replied:
“What-The-Fuck of course I do!!?? Don’t you?”
She was a little taken aback because of a few things. The first was in regards to how I conducted myself when I said this: what I’m thinking is generally clearly displayed on my facial (eyebrow raised in a “Stop judging me for swearing while we wait for the kids to finish jazz ballet class like that, mole”) expression, to my body (head forward in a “Are you high on crystal meth?” pose) language. So she took an involuntary step back into her ‘safe’ zone when I spat this out, probably because she thought I might be on crystal meth myself.
Speaking of crystal meth- who thought these costumes would be a great idea for a group of seven year old girls?
Secondly, I think she was truly stunned that she wasn’t the only one struggling to corral her kids into any semblance of organisation. She was there when my daughter ran to class with undies hanging out of her leotard and her hair definitely not in the regulatory Dance Academy bun. She then watched as I took my son’s day-sleep nappy off (clearly a few hours after he’d finished sleeping) and put his pants back on, without undies. (We have an underpants situation in our house that I’ll probably overshare in detail at some later point). None of these are examples of what I would call particularly bad parenting, but there is a clear theme of tamped down chaos here.
Covered head to toe in pink. This is proper dance wear.
So maybe she’s got ADD or was too busy watching it all fall to pieces with her own daughter’s pre-dance class antics… either way- how could this woman think she was alone in feeling frustrated and in general overwhelmed by the comings and goings of her offspring?
That lasted a few seconds and then she seemed to view me as an ally, not a drug taking DOCS candidate and we launched happily into a set of one-up-manship as we traded stories about how crap we were as mothers. It was incredibly satisfying.
I probably should have attempted to counsel her on all the things she was doing right (like keeping those kids alive for a start!) but sometimes it’s nice to know you’re not the only one struggling. So our common perceived failings were quite comforting.
Unlike pap smears which are just about the foulest things on Earth.