‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ people will say as I recount the frustrations of a shoe lost in a tall tree, or a precious thing gouged by something sharp, as though these incidences are one-offs and I have got things madly out of perspective. When life revolves around traumatised and attachment-damaged children, the small stuff comes in vast quantities, there are lorry loads of the stuff. Sometimes I look out over acres of it, with crazed eyes and a crack in my sanity.
Over the past ten years I have become your worst nightmare. I am the parent whose child turns up to school without a pen and only one trainer in their PE bag. I am the parent who cannot find gloves in cold weather, or a matching pair of socks, or something nice to put in a lunchbox. I am the one who never got the school note (or the second one either) and I rarely fill out my child’s reading log. If your child comes to play I won’t have a nice treat for pudding or a plaster to stick on their grazed knee. But please try to be patient with me and mine, because the Matterhorn of small stuff looks something like this, and sometimes it’s a wonder any of us even leave the house in the morning.
… the drawing on the school t-shirt … the soap cut into small pieces … the lunch not eaten … the toilet not flushed … the missing packet of penguins …the fingerprints in the newly iced cake … the toothpaste squeezed around the taps … the whole cut in the centre of the towel … the box of printer paper folded into airplanes … the torch left on … the lost glove … the only remaining pair of shoes lost … the swimming goggles left at the swimming pool … the metres of selotape on the kitchen floor … the writing on the table … the snot wipe on the fridge … the school planner dismembered … the flowers picked … the opened cut leaking blood on the sheets … the wee needed just after lights out … the bite in the ruler …the cat locked in the room … the paint picked off the walls … the television settings changed …
Of course the fidgetty fingers and the anxious minds can’t control a lot of this activity, which renders me unable to guarantee that anything I need will be where I left it and intact. But it does go towards explaining why I am not the person I was ten years ago and not the well-organised haven of calm and lovely motherliness that you wish I was.
Madness – but through all of it you are still supporting the rest of us on Twitter! So, thanks for keeping me sane through all your insanity!
And if it makes you smile – a friend and I once made mints out of toothpast, froze them, and offered them round to unsuspecting adults – well, beats squeezing it round the taps!
Like you, I find all the small stuff adds up. And coupled with the big stuff, it proves enough to tip me from cuddly, therapeutic mummy, into shouty, screechy mummy.
I remind myself not to sweat it, but it does catch up sometimes and I feel like I’m wading through it knee-deep…
A very timely post – thanks for sharing. It’s good to know we’re not alone in our drowning-ness
I’m reading down this list nodding my head like a donkey. I’d have to add things like the holes in the walls, the broken toys, the clothes stuffed down the loo, the money hidden in shoes, the windows to jump out of, the DVDs used as spades, the jacked used to stop someone elses bleeding knee. And so it goes on..
When the small stuff starts to pile up, then it becomes the Big Stuff!! With two extremely curious and touchy-feely toddlers, I recognise your small stuff list very well!
I love this! My entire life is consumed by small stuff that I shouldn’t ‘sweat’. My list would be almost identical to yours. Some of my favourites are the numerous rolls of toilet roll ‘open’ at the same time, the garden shoes always next to the box instead of in it, the yogurt down the front the cardigan every day and the hand towel always drapped over the bath instead of hung on the duck hook!
Sometimes the small stuff makes us sweat, a lot!