If I ever need a reality check, I can rely on my children to provide.
They did just that today, for example, when I was having a ‘very important meeting’ at work about ‘very important things’. Then I got a phone call saying my toddler son had just bitten my daughter’s foot.
They also served up a decent dose of reality last time I tried to fit in a sneaky bit of internet shopping while they were reading books together. The sound of pages being torn out of a book will quickly distract me from a pretty bag, it turns out.
Then there’s the discussion about what the contents of a potty look like. “Look Mummy, it’s a snail today.” These discussions have a habit of reminding me that no matter how advanced I think my toddler is, he still finds poo fascinating.
There’s my son’s refusal to wear anything remotely ‘on-trend’ because he’s got a T-shirt with Thomas the Tank Engine on it and actually, who needs any other clothes?
There’s the smearing of marmite fingers over my dress 30 seconds before I’m due to leave the house for work.
There’s crawling away (at speed) from the nappy changing mat before being wiped. 15 seconds before I’m due to leave the house for work.
There is the complete refusal to participate in my Pintrest-inspired craft activity because making a tower with blocks is more fun.
There’s the very sudden mood change that comes quicker than you or I could flick a switch. There’s the rapid escalation of something not being quite right to it being the worst thing in the world ever.
There’s the temporary refusal to forgive me for not being there by his side the second he slipped in the park. That one leaves a dull ache somewhere in my chest.
There’s the screaming in the middle of the night that goes on four hours because I can’t make the pain of teething go away.
There is the little voice which says ‘Mummy, please put your phone away and play with me.’ There is nothing like that, I tell you, to make you promise to yourself that the emails can wait.
But then, there are other reality checks too.
There is the reality check which shows me what is really important. When I miss a doctor’s appointment or forget to fill in the nursery form – there is the joy in a little boy’s face because we played trains instead.
There is the intense, desperate, needy 2.30am cuddle when only mummy will do – and then the instant calm and return to slumber because mummy was there.