We hauled the baby activity centre out of the shed, hoping to dust off the cobwebs and bring it inside for the little lady. In the end, Bren got the Kenwood out and steam-cleaned the sucker. The plastic came up a treat. The colours were vibrant and alive!
But, Bren warned me, you should know the fabric seat had some mould on it. He knew it would bother me. He knew the idea that Harlow could put her mouth on a place where mould had once proliferated would turn my garden variety germ intolerance into hysterical OCD. He did his best, willing the power of steam to be enough but alas, the stain remained.
I told him maybe I could save it. I agreed with him the mould had probably been killed by the steam but the unsightliness of those dark shadows weighed heavily on us both.
Or maybe that was just me.
And as I googled "mould stain removal", it did occur to me that my life had become a series of mundane little fires to put out. Day to day, the minutiae eats into precious time that could be better spent laughing with my kids, watching stupid tv with Bren or writing a long-overdue letter to my sponsor child.
Sometimes I am embarrassed at how much of a mum I have become.
The piss-ant-edness of my day to day concerns; did I get a load of washing on AND get it dried AND put it away or will it sit in a basket for the next two weeks until I run out of clothes to wear and I start rummaging around in the dark trying to find a fucking nursing bra without waking up the baby who came into my bed in the middle of the night because I was too tired to get up and feed her in the rocking chair.
Or, let's return to the laundry, did I have to rewash it because it smelled like death after staying forgotten and wet in the machine overnight? Or did I run a load filled with all the oxi-action, stain removal, extra powerful, softening, germ killing detergents but without clothes. Again?
Don't worry, I bore myself to death, too.
But fuck it, unless you have the funds to employ people to deal with the minutiae, then hello, this is life on the domestic front. I'm living it and it might not seem important but then again, whenever I am removed from the equation of how this household runs (because on a selfish whim I have, for instance, decided to vomit into a bucket for 24 hours), it becomes apparent to everyone just what it is I do around here.
My partner is exceptionally good at acknowledging the importance of what I do. If Bren did not value my role in the home, that would be incredibly difficult. But outside of these four walls, these "home duties" that constitute my current occupation score very badly in the "important roles people play in society" survey. Being a Mummy holds no caché.
It's become a kind of cliché to say that motherhood is undervalued. No-one really takes that seriously (except maybe other mothers). Because women have been having babies for thousands of years and it was much harder in the day and we don't know how easy we've got it and I washed my clothes by hand and tilled the fucking soil or some such.
Well, that sure does sound hard and so I think you might have really appreciated, after a day of soil tilling, being able to turn on your laptop and connect with women who had the EXACT SAME DAY AS YOU. The exact same mind-numbing, butt-crack of a day as you.
I am a mummy and a mummy blogger and sometimes neither of those things sits well with me. It feels something like a cultural cringe. The culture of the mummy is decidedly uncool.
Other times, I embrace it. Because it is who I am, who I have chosen to be. Obviously caché had zero to do with my choice to become a mother, and I guess I knew that despite the hard work Kate Moss and Snooki have done to make having a kid on the hip look good, at some point, child-rearing and house-keeping would blow. But it IS an important job. And how I feel about it matters. My words are important, the words we use to evoke the colour and shape of our stay-at-home days are meaningful and we deserve to be heard, and since the powers that be don't really want to hear our opinions unless they can somehow squeeze a sale or a vote out of it, we will listen to one another.
You think we like having conversations about potties and dummies, toddler naps and milk-engorged baps? You think we don't hear ourselves? What we sound like?
You think I don't wonder whether I could have been snorting coke off Ryan Gosling's perfect fucking tits?
But someone has to toilet train the leaders of tomorrow.
I don't even know what machine I rage against. Is it the media? Society and its entrenched beliefs? Whoever you are, you with your disdain for my space and my identity, you are invited to read something else. But don't fucking patronise me. Us.
Maybe some of us want to connect and relate and not feel so god-damned lonely.