You’re stressed? Course you are, you’ve got kids!
There is a simple fact that children have a much bigger impact on your quality of life than say smoking or drinking. But when you buy those products there are warnings on the packaging for the consequences to your health. They should do that on the stuff you buy when you are trying to get pregnant, imagine walking into Boots, picking up a packet of Folic acid and on the back is a picture of a couple having a lie in, that would make you abandon the idea in an instant. There are probably other images you could use, but how do you capture in a photograph someone strangling your dreams?
Having children is stressful, there is no doubt about that. But you have to work very hard to not let that stress affect those members of society who haven’t got children and that’s easier said than done, because you despise these people. Watching them dance through their lives without a care in the world, it’s like looking at who you once were; free, happy and blissfully selfish.
“What shall we do today, we have no responsibilities, no ties, don’t you feel energised after that twelve hours of uninterrupted sleep?”
All you want to do is just take your pushchair and ram it into the back of their smug heels, just to release that tension, to bleed the valve on the pressure cooker that is parenting.
But there are many occasions where you can’t contain it, where it explodes, like some sort of social terrorism, here are some of my favourite examples.
The family meal out
Is there anyone who enjoys a meal out with the family? You do it because you feel like you should. The only meal out I enjoy with my kids is when I am in the supermarket, they are hungry and I open a loaf of bread and give them a slice, basically when I treat our kids like ducks, that’s a stress free meal out.
You have visions of that perfect Utopia, the children sitting there happily, with angelic faces, “We’ll eat anything daddy, you know us we are not fussy, order what you like, we are just thrilled to be all together.”
But that illusion is washed away in a tsunami of blackcurrant Fruit Shoot as soon as you walk in the place.
You see the other parents in their own private hell, holding phone screens up to kids’ faces, every time it’s pulled it away the kid starts to scream, it’s like a medic treating a wounded soldier on a battlefield.
There isn’t a table, it doesn’t matter. You find the people who are on their desserts and stand next to them and make them feel so uncomfortable that they speed up, “he’s just looking at that cheesecake, just move!” you help them put their coats on, you basically evict them from that table.
Once the kids are sat down the pressure is on. The first thing is to get the crayons and activity sheets, god forbid that the kids have to occupy themselves for five minutes. Why the obsession with stationary?!?
You may as well just have a picnic in Rymans.
When the waiter arrives you’re just angry.
“Are you ready to order guys?”
Course you’re ready to order, you were ready last Wednesday, you just wish they’d stop wasting time. You begin to lose your temper:
“When you bring the food, just bring the bill too, this hell needs to end. In fact, forget the cutlery or plates mate just get the chef to pop out of the kitchen with a catapult and fire the food directly into our miserable mouths!”
The waiter just stands there stunned, it’s all so awkward. This tension isn’t helped by the fact that you are so ashamed that you have left that table in such a disgusting state, that they only have two choices, claim on the insurance or set fire to it.
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