We know what we want to do. We know what we should do. We know what we intend to do. But, sometimes, just keeping the kids fed and alive makes us take our eyes totally off the ball. And come across as a bit, erm, crap/rude/utterly nuts. Here’s a quick guide…
1. Sending thank you cards. Someone very kindly thought about your children. They took the time to pick a gift, wrap it and possibly even post it. Some 4-6 weeks later, you realise you haven’t even thanked them. You berate yourself for being so rude, make a note to send them a thank you card. And swiftly forget. Because the toddler has just wet himself. The cat has been sick on the floor. And you’ve just trodden in it. (Or any scenario a bit like that.) If, by some small miracle, you do get around to writing a thank you card, the chances of you finding a stamp AND actually managing to post it (before someone’s scribbled all over it or hidden it) are so slim, that you may as well have not bothered in the first place. You could, of course, make this a fun (and secretly educational) activity to ‘enjoy’ with your kids. And ask them to write the thank you cards. But after several illegible cards and having to repeating the spelling of ‘Dear,’ you will find yourself a) drinking b) trying to strangle yourself or c) throwing the whole, stupid stationery set out of the window. So instead, next time you see kind, present-giving person, you’ll do the only thing you can. And blame ‘blooming Royal Mail.’
2. Accepting party invitations. Sadly these are not parties you’re invited to. You’d be accepting those in a flash. No, these are parties for your kids. Which is probably why you’re so tardy in replying. You should really just reply the moment you get the invite but checking your calendar is somehow such a laborious effort, that it becomes yet another thing you’ll do ‘later.’ That, of course, you won’t. You’ll eventually reply. When you’re chased. Tut. Tut. Tut.
3. Making birthday cakes. When your first child turned four and asked for an E.T. cake you spent ages deliberating on how to do the bony finger and get the moon texture just right. It was nothing short of a masterpiece (for you, anyway). When your second child turned four, you made a chocolate cake several days before, let it go slightly stale, shoved a few chocolate fingers around the edge (not even enough to go round, because ‘people’ kept eating them) and were still ‘decorating’ it when the guests turned up. Shoddy. Lazy. And more than a bit crap. Shame on you.
4. Doing stuff you said you’d do. You absolutely meant to call your friend back. You absolutely meant to send those contact details that someone asked you for. You absolutely meant to do whatever it was you said you’d do. But. It. Just. Didn’t. Happen. Newsflash for all us busy (crap) mums. The only way we’ll actually do that stuff? Is by actually doing it. (Fat chance.)
5. Replying to texts. If you don’t reply immediately, you’re doomed. The text will disappear into the vortex of lonely texts that no one has ever replied to. Leaving you looking rude/insensitive/selfish. And the sender cursing the day you were born. They’ll probably also take you off their Christmas card list. (If anyone still had the common courtesy to send Christmas cards, that is.)
6. Presentation of yourself/your kids/your house. One of your kids is wearing hot pants. In winter. You, yourself, are wearing slightly (very) stained leggings that you’ve ‘freshened’ up with a baby wipe. And your house looks like you’ve been burgled. You don’t even bother making excuses or waste time feeling bad these days. This is what life looks like on a good day.
7. Keeping track of school/nursery/life events. It all starts off well enough. The school uniform is ironed. The bag packed the night before. You remember which day your child has to wear purple and which day he has to go as a superhero for Children In Need. Fast forward a couple of years (months) and you sort of lose the plot. There’s so much to remember that you always forget something. And it’s a bit like breaking your vow not to eat chocolate with just one Malteser and then eating the whole bag in 30 seconds flat. Once you’ve forgotten one thing, you kind of give up even trying to be efficient.
8. Being early/being late/not turning up at all. In other words? Shocking time keeping. You either turn up super early because the kids got up at 5.00 AM and, ‘Well, we thought we’d just get out of the house. Oh sorry, is it only 8.00 AM? What time did you want us?‘ Or you turn up hideously late and barely even realise/remember to apologise. Or, you don’t turn up at all. Because… no reason actually. You probably just didn’t write it down or look at that flipping calendar.
9. Hosting etiquette. You used to be so proper. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But you used to care about the little things. You’re not sure where it all started to unravel (although you have your suspicions) but now you think it’s perfectly acceptable to do stuff like ask your guests to replace the toilet roll, ‘whilst you’re up there.’ Or ‘just pop the bin out when you leave‘. Change your child’s nappy whilst you take that urgent phone call. Only, if they don’t mind, obviously. I mean, you’re not rude or anything, right?