Thursday the 6th of August, 2015. 11:05am.
Nearly three weeks of the school summer holidays have passed and as I am blearily jabbing at the keyboard to pen this piece, the children are screaming. I’m not sure why, if i’m honest. One of them screamed about something, which made the other one scream, then they just started screaming at each other. It’s what I call the “Perpetual Emotion Machine”, a non-stop cycle of childish anger which cannot be stopped, only redirected towards any hapless adult (yes, me) who might be foolish enough to intervene*.
Sipping at my second energy drink of the day and wiping the blood from my ears, I find myself browsing Facebook to see post after post of the same old shit. “Lush day with my babies, LOVE Summer hols”, “Another great day out with my family. XOXO”, “OMG BESTEST TIME WITH BESTEST PEOPLE!”. Status after status of gushing, luvvy-wuvvy happiness. What am I doing wrong?
I adore my children and we’ve had some great days out (and in) over the past few weeks. We’ve watched a bunch of films, eaten enough sweets to leave a trail of sugar from here to Terabithia, been to a frankly fantastic animal park (Axe Valley, well worth a look), all sorts of shenanigans.
That being said, you can’t do it every day. Thanks partly to my useless appendages (you can read that tale of woe here), some days you have to just sit. Other days, you maybe have to get some housework done. There are days, my darling children, when you have to entertain yourselves for an hour or two so that shit get’s done. You’d think i’d asked them to build a rocket and pop to the Moon for some cheese.
So, as the children whirl past in one of those cartoon clouds of dust, scrapping and yelling at each other, I wonder again what have I done wrong? Facebook is full of happy families who’ve never had a bad day and are always smiling big ol’ smiles like the freak show from the Black Hole Sun video. Are they better than us?
No. They’re just less honest. Everyone has bad days but they don’t post those on Facebook. You see the picture of the angelic wee child baking with mummy, but you never see the picture of said child drawing a big hairy arse on the wall in Tippex while mummy downs a litre of Pinot Grigio. You see a status update saying “Daddy/daughter time! X” with your friend’s wee girl riding her daddy like a pony, but no-one posts “GET THIS WEE SHIT OFF OF ME!” with the same sweet little angel bouncing on her daddy’s head while he tries to sleep off a migraine.
If you’ve ever felt like you’re screwing it all up just because Prissy McPerfection has posted yet another picture of her perfect family baking perfect cakes in Perfectville, don’t sweat it. The day after that, her kids smeared her Audi in shit and then set fire to the dog. She’s just never going to mention it on Facebook. Chin up.
* That’s rather clever, isn’t it? Perpetual Emotion Machine. That should be on an array of child’s clothing, wouldn’t you agree? It is now.