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Thursday, 1 March 2012

Excellent Parents / Existent Parents.

Unfortunately for us, recently, our children have chosen the path to ill health and sickness over the last couple of weeks, with the much coveted and very underrated chicken pox, high temperatures and vomiting. Not all at once though, spread evenly over the weeks. Whilst every parent has to go through these things at some point, it still doesn't make it easier, enviable or delighting. Except chicken pox, which everyone wants their children to have but schools still tell you to keep them away, even though they have obviously caught the pox from the very vessels from which they are banned. Children and childcare is so delightfully and gloriously complex you just simply couldn't make it up. As always, I digress.

Over the few weeks that I have been away from blogging, I have traveled far and wide and stayed with friends and family and, by sheer coincidence, there has been a pattern in that which was in front of me.

I would label myself as an existent parent, by virtue of the fact that I have children, thus making me a parent and I am alive, thus making me existent. It's not hard. To explain... Days morph ceaselessly into weeks and weeks into years and so on, and all I really have to show for this passing of time is two children, albeit ill, who are alive. My house, rented, is not likely to be up for anything near Good Housekeeping standard awards (does such a thing even exist?). The only consistent thing about it is the washing (scattered everywhere) and the cooking, largely uneaten, located between Aga, plate, table and bin. We do disorganised chaos in spades. People come round and I am frantically trying to put things in cupboards that I know no one is going to open and then die from suffocation under the avalanche of stuff that falls out on them. I do not (contrary to my last blog) want to be imprisoned for manslaughter by cupboard related means, I don't have the time for one thing. Beds are made, albeit badly, and bathrooms are clean. It's usually pandemonium and stress levels mount to catastrophic levels.

The thing is, I like Clean and I like Tidy, I do, I just haven't met them yet, they stop by very rarely and after they've been, Unclean and Untidy whisk through the house like a tornado leaving me whimpering and bitter. I have great intentions. House and Garden Magazine nipping by to have a cup of something stylish out of something that matches and doesn't have a chip in it or worse, something that the dishwasher failed to mention that it hadn't cleaned off! Nigella and Delia whizzing by to taste the latest baked good that I have whipped up whilst redesigning the ground floor of my cesspit/house. Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and Gok flying through to check out the new craze of Yummy Mummy Couture I've thrown together during and for the school run. These are my aspirations, and yet I manage virtually no baking, food that only tastes good because by the time the marauding hordes sit down to eat it they can barely see for drunkenness and the clothes I stand up in I have usually found under the dog and can barely tell where he finishes and they begin.

Despite all of this, my children are often better dressed than me. Their hair is rarely to never brushed, teeth often smell of toothpaste, but sometimes I think that is because they return to it again and again as an attainable source of nutrition, once they have turned their nose up at my gastronomic offerings. Luckily, they have absolutely no frame of reference or I am pretty sure they'd be on to Child line at their earliest convenience booking themselves into borstal/foster homes. This to me, is Existent Parenting as it stands.

Excellent parents I have met on my travels. We seem to stay with them wherever we go. Their homes are temples, as are their bodies, their kitchens are a calm, tranquil place of good smells, tastes and virtue and their children are seen, heard and, dare I say it, ENJOYED! Scones have been made effortlessly in front of me, despite the technical glitch with the brand new mixer given as a Birthday / Valentines Gift by Excellent Father.  Feasts for thousands, as far as I can tell, where vegans, vegetarians and gluttons have all been catered for. Planned games and childcare flow seamlessly through our time spent with them enabling calm, order and Existent Parents to, well, exist?

Excellent Mothers are well dressed, looking good is obtained with minimal strife and all tasks leave me reeling with a great and burdening sense of retardation. How can you hold a sensible and interesting conversation with me and these others whilst not frappeing your finger, sauteing your nerves and ironing your children? Why is your washing machine not walking out the door telling you to F' off over it's shoulder? How come all the rooms of your house are identifiable as something other than a boot room or play room? How come the thing under our feet, that in this context I can actually call a floor, is not sticky and crunchy and or squelchy and recognisable as inside only by virtue of the fact that you had to come inside to stand on it?

Excellent Father's roll about the place on castors it would seem. Your glass, stomach, purse and brain are never void. Conversation is free flowing and humorous for the larger majority of the time, food and drink are administered regularly and without interruption, all the Existent Parent has to worry about is not spilling all of this down their front, which, let me tell you, is extremely hard. In a situation where Excellent Mother and Excellent Father are still together, the Excellent Father bolsters the Excellent Mother 100% creating utterly admirable parenting to the factor of gojillion. There is nothing one can do about this, it is fact.

I kow tow to all parents everywhere, be they Existent or Excellent. The fact is, we're doing it, we're doing it in a way that expectant parents and non parents cannot fathom. This is a club that, truly, given the chance again, we'd all vote for a few more years without. But, as luck would have it, we wouldn't want it any other way, would we?