For several years I have graciously worn the title of Uber Mother, afforded to me largely because of the fifteen month accidental age gap between my three progeny. This is a happy by-product of fertility; friends and family consider you to be a paragon of motherhood purely by virtue of the number of children you have, especially when combined with an unfeasibly close age gap. If only I’d been able to squeeze in another couple of babies into the first three years I’d have been in line for martyrdom.
Over the years I’ve been generous with my parenting knowledge, imparting nuggets of advice to those in need and serving slices of wisdom with a nice strong cup of tea. After all, I was the Uber Mother. As my children trooped happily up the stairs for bedtime, or waited patiently for an extra helping of organic broccoli, I smiled smugly to myself and secretly pitied my poor compatriots who were run ragged by their errant offspring.
I know what you’re thinking, and you’ll be relieved to know that it was only a matter of time before I got my comeuppance. The children are revolting. Barely three weeks before I bid the nanny farewell and take over as full time mother and work-at-home freelance, my infant terrorists are running rings around me, stopping only to laugh in my face. Like the opening scenes from Nanny McPhee, when left in my sole charge the children swarm up curtains, into fridges and out of my grasp.
When in public the children continue to behave impeccably. They are a delight for their grandparents, a breeze for the nanny and a pleasure for play date parents. When their father returns home he is greeted by three impossibly meek smiles, their dimples belying the devilish behaviour unleashed upon me, his now-smelling-slightly-of-gin wife. No matter how hard I tried to explain that Satan appeared to have released his spawn into my charge, my husband refused to believe it. After all, they weren’t like that with him.
Last night, I filmed bedtime. A desperate measure, but one designed to show my husband just what goes on at home in his absence, and – perhaps – an opportunity to identify where I was going wrong. The children were true to form. At the mere mention of ‘pyjamas’ E disappeared under her bed, G slipped from my fingers like wet soap and J began walloping me with pillows. Like sharks smelling blood, his sisters emerged from their hiding places as I cowered from the attack, sitting on my back and my head respectively. Unable to move, J took the opportunity to forgo his pillows in favour of a large plastic sword, which he attempted to insert into my bottom. Several times. With vigour.
Later that evening, glass of wine in hand, I presented the footage to my husband, caring not a jot that my credibility as a mother was now in tatters (as was my bottom). I asked if the children had ever behaved in that way with him. When he had finished laughing, he replied that no, they had never displayed such tendencies for disorder. He suggested I try being a little firmer with them. And perhaps wearing some sort of protective undergarments.
And so it is with great sorrow that I relinquish my Uber Mother title. Would anyone care to step forward and claim it?