Just Don’t

I’ve tried, tirelessly, in this column, to help people avoid making the terrible mistake of having children. But I still see you. Everywhere. Having children. Out and about with your first child, carefully fussing around them as if they were unexploded bombs. Oh, the naivete. It’s almost cute.

If you have ignored me, and have one, for goodness sake leave it at that. The one you’ve got might seem horrendously difficult and frustrating, but believe me, you’ve still got it easy. If you have two, you repeat offending fool, then don’t ever be tempted to think that another one won’t make much difference. It so will.

Take this morning, for instance. Others calmly and happily prepare for the morning commute. Showering pleasantly. Bopping to the radio. Eating a crisp, calm piece of toast. Reading a crisp, calm news paper. Reflecting with wise detachment on whatever dark comedy is being played out in the news today. Not me.

My baby son woke me up at 2am. 4am. 6am. Then finally, after I had given up putting him back in his cot, at 7am, by trying to tear my face off by the lip. I lever myself out of bed and drag my other two grumpy, angry children downstairs where they begin their first task of the day. Shouting at me.

“Stop shouting at me!” I shout. I never used to shout.

I make breakfast, change a nappy, find clothes, dress myself, drink coffee, all as calm and poised as a giraffe with a migraine. My children refuse to eat breakfast, or put on clothes, or stop shouting. I hide in the toilet for 4 sweet minutes, too tired to cry. Getting them in the car is like the worst clown act in the world.

We arrive at school, too late to park legally, looking like aliens sent to earth to impersonate a human family, but who missed a key seminar.

Whatever you do, don’t have three kids. Unless you’re my Mum, of course. I’m fourth of five. Thank you Mum.

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