“Look Mummy, look mummy… mummy… mummy…”

If you’ve been at home with children on a completely full time basis for as long as I have (13 years and rising), then you’ve probably developed a number of coping mechanisms by now.

One of mine is tuna, mayo and sweetcorn pasta. Lunch, very quickly, with all the most important food groups in it, which can be easily fitted in around, variously, changing or feeding a baby, having a quick pregnant snooze, coming up with a plan for the afternoons entertainment, putting washing on, breaking up a fight or changing the channel on CBeebies.

CBeebies is of course another ;)

But the big one, so far as I can see, is the ability to filter out constant and repetitive noise, the white noise of the clatter and argy bargy of kids just being kids, playing, yelling, fighting (or as I prefer to call it, socialising and discovering boundaries) and being tired, hungry, wailing or just generally waiting for their mother to wake up and cook some tuna pasta.

If you are really clever, you can even learn to filter out CBeebies ;)

Don’t be fooled by the cuteness.

Over the years I have got this down to an art; I can produce reasonably sensible bits of conversation, run a business, educate, feed a baby, cook etc etc etc, all without actually being too bothered by the noise levels. I do generally notice if someone is actually shrieking with pain and I’m reasonably good at inserting a good shout if someone is actually being horrid, but otherwise, these days, I’m blissfully unaware.

Let’s just say I sat in a maternity waiting room recently, with a group of first time mums – the fire alarm was going off, causing all of them to clutch their ears or bumps protectively while moaning a lot. *I* just read my book. I didn’t even notice until the sounds of the moaning finally beat through to my brain. I only just resisted telling them off and sending them to do some maths :lol:

Unfortunately, I have concluded that this works both ways; the girls are equally good at filtering me out.

For example:-

We could get so much more done if ONLY people did things when I first asked or engaged their brain in some way so I didn’t have to repeat myself  ie.”You’re surprised you need to put a leotard on, do your hair, have a snack and fill a water bottle to get ready for gym at 4.30pm? Well indeed. Who knew? After all, you have only been going twice a week for 3 years…..” :roll:

And don’t get me started on lost ballet shoes, or how many times I have to ask for a room to be tidied, with the resulting loss of years of creative play time. Or just “brush your teeth, brush your hair, wash your face (yes, yes, I know, radical), get dressed, we leave in 5, 4,3,2,1 minute….”

A few years ago Max bought me a gadget Christmas that had a series of record buttons. I could programme each one to say anything *insert all of above repetitious remarks* and just press the button to say it over and over again without actually expending breathable oxygen on it. But the novelty wore off as it does – and besides, it involved a certain amount of awareness on my part. With pregnant sleepiness once again towering over my daylight hours, what I need is some form of ring back tone platform; the girls could just dial in at their convenience, listen to me harangue them – and then just ignore me at their leisure :)

Come on then.. tell me your top mothering coping techniques? Anything up to, but not including, locking them in the under stairs cupboard? (You may include locking yourself in there ;) ) And pet peeves? What NEVER sinks in, what will you still be shrieking after them the day they leave for university?

Comments

  1. Liz says

    Oh how I wish that I could filter out the noise!! I love having a ‘big’ family, but I would just really really like a mute button …. especially when trying to leave the house!

  2. Maggie says

    I can filter out lots of noise while still being aware of where the elephants…sorry, I mean children, are in the house…which is quite a skill. Something I cannot get my son to comprehend is, “DO NOT LEAVE YOUR WET KAYAKING GEAR ON THE LAMINATE FLOOR” Put it in the kitchen. He also doesn’t grasp that kayaking gear does not rinse or dry itself……I haven’t done it for months, personally, believing that the quickest way to get him to grasp this point is to leave it festering in its bag for a week and let him face the consequences. Daddy usually caves in, though *sad shake of the head*. I am clearly made of sterner stuff ;)

    I did succeed with the P.E. bags from school though *beams* These are now left in the kitchen in the vicinity of the wash basket….which isn’t perfect but it will do. For now…….

    • says

      What always amuses me most is not whether I am aware or not of the noise, but how instantly I notice those ominous, guilty silences!

  3. Clare says

    It feels like l will be saying for the rest of my days “Have you flushed?/ Have you put the seat down?/ Have you washed your hands?!!!

    Oooo and if I could have one of those electric sound proof windows in my car between the front two seats and the back that would be ever so great!!!!

    Apart from that …… there’s just all the other stuff ;-)

    • says

      Hello! :)

      Yes, I have been tempted by one of those too, although a diesel people carrier is a reasonable sound muffler as it is!

  4. says

    I wonder if you have any idea how encouraging it is for me to read this, and must be for others, too? I do filter out a lot of the noise….but feel guilty about doing even that, figuring my children are the only ones in the world SO loud, and that something must be seriously wrong with them, not to mention even more wrong with me, that I can just let it go on while I get on with other stuff.

    Laughed out loud at you barely resisting telling all those women to go do some maths…I think I thought that was also an “only me” kind of thing!

  5. says

    Oh yeah–you actually asked for coping techniques. I don’t think I have any.

    As for what never sinks in? Everything.

    But what I’ll be shrieking after them when they move out? Probably something like, “Bye, darling! I love you! Let me know when it’s a good time to come jump on your sofa!”

  6. Veronica says

    what will you still be shrieking after them the day they leave for university?

    ‘DON’T SLAM THE DOOR’ because no one is able to just close it in our house!

  7. Sarah says

    Not sure I could cope being home full time. The noise is appalling, the behaviour leaves lots to he desired – fighting and generally winding each other up, slamming doirs, throwing things and screaming if they don’t get an instant response from me of dropping everything and pandering to their latest demand (actually the last few are my son only, the girls are generally much more sociable).

    Wish I could tune it out. They seem to turn the volume right up when I’m on the phone too.

    My coping strategy is going to work. I may get complained to & about, shouted at and verbally abused from time to time without any ability to defend myself without threats of formal complaints being issued and having to apologise about perceptions of other peoples errors but at least I can retreat to my office for five minutes for a peaceful cup of tea that can be drunk whilst still warm.

    I don’t do sleep deprivation well, and have got worse with age so find myself grumping to the children A LOT. A decent bottle of wine goes a long way too.

  8. says

    This really made me laugh, tuna pasta & peas (sshh don’t let them know about mayo!) is totally my coping meal. Online shopping is a lifesaver as well and having a big garden is amazing. I never really notice the noise until it is not there (school time) and then it is so strange. Time seems to be zooming along too fast though

  9. Debbie says

    Coping techniques:
    1. Microwave – since I never get to drink a whole cup of tea while it is still hot. I limit myself to two re-heats per cup, then it gets chucked and a new one made.
    2. Sign on the children’s bathroom wall, letters cut out of newpapers : Warning: flush or die! did wonders.
    3. A husband who likes cooking in huge quantities (like chilli con carne for 60) – I always have ‘home cooked’ in the freezer for when it goes pear shaped
    4. Trampoline – got it about 3 houses ago when it was our garden (postage stamp). Indispensable for those high energy moments (esp for sons?). He’s been sent out to it in the pouring rain before now!
    5. I have perfected the art of sounding really angry without actually being so. Sometimes you need to up the ante to get them to hear!

  10. says

    That pasta sounds delicious. Omelettes are my go-to emergency food. Cbeebies, check (hence being able to catch up on blogs now!). Thank God for the BBC and no advertising. My big coping strategy is being able to filter out mess. I do like things tidy, but I’m fine if they’re not, I just don’t see it. DH not so much, unfortunately!