Couples were cruising around with their babes, holding hands like they have never farted in bed. Toddlers were walking on the footpath with their parents calmly cruising beside them without a care in the world. Every kid I saw had a clean face and t-shirt. Every parent I saw had a clean face and t-shirt.
Now I’m the first to admit that I’m not perfect – I’m pretty close to it – but not quite there yet. But FAR OUT, why does everyone have to look so goddamn put together on the days when things are just so out of whack for me?
It’s on these days that I want to kick myself in the shin for the extreme jealousy I have when I see dads cruising with the pram (God, it sometimes kills me when my husband works all weekend), or when I see a child SITTING STILL in a high chair in a café while their parents eat bacon and eggs and drink soy lattes and talk to each other and read the paper and sigh because they have the time to. Or when I hear that so-and-so’s kid watched TV all morning so she got all her housework done in a flash. Man, the only time Alfie watches TV is when he’s aiming something at it.
It’s also on these days that I get really hard on myself and I reflect back on my pre-baby days when I’d hit the pub to watch the Grand Final, not whinge to my child-free pals in the park drinking a tinny hidden in my coat pocket. When I would have saffron in my pantry, not Old El Paso burrito kits. When I would head to a Sunday movie matinee at The Astor Theatre, not prepare everything to time in with The Block’s Room Reveal. And when it would be MY choice how many outfits I would wear a day.
Today, being Grand Final Day, was activity filled. My son and I didn’t watch any football, but we chased one around and around the park together today while we ate hot chips. All the other kids in the park were eating fruit, zucchinis, saffron and cauliflower in clean t-shirts (of course).
My son slept after our mad park date for ages. I should have used this time smartly by hanging out washing, cleaning the floors, hosing down the high chair, cutting my toe nails, doing a poo on my own without someone looking at me, plucking my eyebrows, eating lunch, spending time with the dog, renovating my house… et cetera. Instead, I spent my time on Facebook, looking at other people’s perfect, happy, clean faces and ‘liking’ statuses on Channing Tatum’s page (very excited about Magic Mike XL).
So, here I am on a Saturday night – at home with my dog on the couch while my hubby works. I’ve just put Alfie to bed after singing probably the most inappropriate bed time tune (Warren G’s Regulator – it was all I could think of after my long day). Did I waste my day? Perhaps. But I got to hang out with the grubbiest kid in Yarraville, who watered everyone’s garden on the street in his nappy and gumboots. A kid who wanted to go to bed with the computer mouse. A little man who had a piece of Duplo hidden in his nappy for hours without me realising it. A tiny boy who carried a handbag with him everywhere. And the sweetest kid who told me the dinner I made him (Old El Paso) was ‘yummy’ made up for all the envious, perfect crap I witnessed today.
Perhaps I will be that person tomorrow? If you bump into me and I have a clean t-shirt and a clean child, please give me a high five. I will respond with a ‘down low’. Don’t be slow.