The evening routine is not something I have ever really got the hang of. I am not a routine person. Mornings are for rushing out of the door barely dressed and with a toddler still mewling at the outrage of being torn from the comforting catatonic vigil of back to back Paw Patrol and Fireman Sam, and evenings….well, evenings are mostly spent trying to keep a wayward child from tearing the house apart while I have to leave him to his own devices for twenty minutes in order to cook dinner. Ten of those minutes are spent intermittently running to the pushchair, instrument of discipline, the only place where I can safely leave Piglet for a minute if he starts running riot in an unacceptable manner, which frankly is his usual modus operandi.
I am not someone who thinks they have it all sussed.
That perfectly put together person with the organised and colour-coded life, all neat hair and manicured nails? That isn’t me.
I haven’t had my hair cut in a year and you won’t catch me getting my nails done-it feels like a terrible waste of money for something I could do at home with an oily old nail varnish from Boots that’s long been consigned under the bed and coated with dust; and where parenting is concerned you certainly won’t catch me with the cast-iron routine of a Supernanny devotee, where Bath, Book, Bed becomes a mantra for reminding myself of how smug and perfect my evenings are with my child who eats all his dinner (I’m hoping this one will be sorted by the time the teenage years roll around) and sleeps through the night (maybe when he goes to school? Maybe?)
You won’t catch me relaxing with a chilled glass of wine in the evening with a box set, a takeaway pizza and a doting husband, enjoying our sophisticated grown-up time after the child has retired to his slumbers, because Piglet is still up long into the night, usually hitting me over the head with whatever is to hand-a mobile phone, a pair of novelty sunglasses with plastic flamingos attached, the book I was attempting to Bath, Book, Bed him into nocturnal submission with-and any available wine is guzzled frantically whilst trying to juggle a set of pyjamas and a potty. And also I don’t have a husband, let alone one who dotes.
So I will not be on the internet announcing the Secret of perfect parenting to the world, about how I am fitting it all in, despite being a busy single mother of one and general superwoman, because I am not fitting it all in, I am probably damaging my precious offspring for life by starting the bedtime “routine”-such as it is-at 8pm (on a good night), and then spending most of the routine putting myself to bed (the child won’t sleep without me there. What can I say? My eternal destiny is to lie half awake scrolling through the more banal aspects of social media attached to Piglet via the milk-receptacle on my chest) whilst Piglet plays and then has a story and partakes of milky-pops which, at almost three years old, the likes of my mother are having daily palpitations about and thoughtfully reminding me that Piglet will, of course, still be having it when he goes to school. And when he leaves school.
In fact, the merest mention of a routine is enough to trigger a panic attack. Do all these other mothers have routines? Can I blame my lack of routine on my lack of a husband and possession of a full time job? Have I damaged Piglet permanently by failing to adhere to the Bath, Book, Bed mantra so beloved of Supernanny and her ilk? Should I give up attempting to cook healthy meals at dinner and instead sink head first into a diet of frozen pizzas and fish fingers to try and make our evenings pass a little more rapidly, and speed the little one into bed before the “screaming ab-dabs,” as my mother affectionately terms them, kick in?
And will Piglet still be banging on the door of the shower as I try to get myself ready for bed, and put his cars into the shower with me while I try to coax him out of the bathroom with empty threats?
So my evening routine leaves a lot to be desired. I won’t be vlogging about it, and it won’t be winning me any awards.
Certainly not for Mother of the Year anyway. Or do they give one out for long term breastfeeding? I’m holding out for that one.