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The art of having a bad day


I gained so much weight since Dec that my underwear is cutting off my blood supply. While facilitating a workshop last week I could literally not feel my left arm. It was all pins and needles and for a brief moment I thought I might be having an actual heart attack. Have you seen the GIRLS episode where Lena Dunham has to lubricate a wetsuit so that she can squeeze herself into it? Well, we watched it tonight and I said to Kev, “wow, I’m on my way there”. He replied “well, you can stop now”. That was at the end of this interesting day. This interesting, somewhat challenging day that started at 4am with Bailey shaking her coins (inside a metal tin) loudly in my ear (the tooth mouse visited her for the first time last night and she was so excited that she had to wake all of us to tell us the good news).

It was also my first provisional tax day, ta da daaa (Jaws theme song, if you’re a millennial then Google it youngster). Let’s not spend too much time on that topic except to say that I fucked it up in a big way because I left it too late (three young kids) and because I lack certain skills (learned helplessness). I was running a workshop while waiting for my most competent tax lady with-cool-accent to call and tell me my future, and all through the workshop I was not able to breathe through my nose, not even a little. I sounded like phone sex, but without the gruff voice, just the creepy heavy breathing stuck. I’m still not entirely sure whether or not this heavy breathing was due to nerves about provisional tax day or if it was because of the snot the baby child gave me – probably a little of both. So, tax lady with-cool-accent called. “Hello” I answered (heavy breathing), and considered telling her that I had just climbed twenty seven flights of stairs. “You haven’t seen my mail yet, have you?” she asked. Now the previous time I spoke with her on the phone I stepped right through a rotten piece of wood on a deck type thing leading from my bedroom to the garden. Right through. It felt like I had broken my leg as well as my right bottom, but I did not let on and the conversation continued smoothly. Now I’m starting to wonder, she sounds so nice and I’d love to meet her, but gosh. Coincidence is God’s way of staying anonymous? (paraphrase). Every time we speak on the phone something happens. Last note on this fiasco is that my parents rock. They are seriously the coolest two people on this earth. My in-laws also rock by the way, not many who can say that. I’m a silver lining type of person.

Let’s move off the topic of work and provisional tax and me driving like a crazy person to do the school run in record time, and fast forward right on home (after I nearly forgot that first boy child was in aftercare and arrived ten minutes late to pick poor said boy child up from aftercare). Getting home, Bailey is bum-sliding down the passageway while making a high pitched wailing noise because her leg is broken, apparently. There are real tears and for a split second I’m actually concerned. Portia and Tom compete for my attention while Kai mercilessly peppers me with questions as to why I was late. Did I forget him? I clearly don’t love him and I never listen to him and I’m just. not. winning. at life today. Portia comes first in the attention seeking competition because she is telling me about the monkeys raiding us today. They not only ate our fruit, they also sucked on my toilet spray and took a few bites from the cool fizzy bath balls I bought (on a trip, the previous time I slept, back at Indigo fields, in 2016).

Feeding hour at our house is loud. The dogs bark, cats scratch couches, kids are screaming, I’m talking in a disturbingly calm voice (and more heavy breathing). It’s just weird. I walk outside, feeling quite proud at making it through this day (coffee, amazing colleagues, humour, some reading). I bend down to feed the dogs and then notice that Bailey had made a garden in the dogs’ bowls. Conflicting emotions overwhelm me, that’s so clever but now I have to convince her to clean it out. I’m tired and suffering from bad decision making fatigue (right now I’m a sales person’s dream, I cannot make a single responsible decision). Also, it’s a little naughty, but really creative. And she broke off several of my flowers and plants to do this, the succulent will grow again, and so it goes in my head. I end up making a solid decision after all, a solid decision to choose my battles. The dogs can eat from a plastic chips bowl. Beast stares in confusion for a few seconds but then he digs right in. I’ll address the mini-garden issue tomorrow. Small win, deep sigh.

Kev gets home and together we karate grip the baby child in a head lock position to squirt medicine down his throat, like you would with a cat. We giggle together at the cute tantrum he throws on the floor. We’re a team like that.

You really know yourself when you’re faced with so many contradictory emotions in one day. It’s like juggling twenty balls, while they’re on fire and you have a lot of hairspray on your ‘rusty’ hair (Bailey’s term). “Nobody died” a lovely friend said. No, I replied, “and the worst that can happen is that my kids get scurvy because from now on we will only eat dry bread, which will probably make them more grateful for how incredibly blessed they actually are”.

At the end of the day with kids it’s like a union negotiation to decide whether or not we’ll read on the top bunk bed (where Kai hangs out) or the bottom (where little Bailey makes her presence known in a large way). All kinds of negotiation techniques are employed, including crying, stamping of feet and flinging ones body off the top of the bunk bed with as much drama and eloquence as a soccer injury. The bottom wins, finally we slouch down to read “Room on a Broom”. We delight in the rhyme and the clever illustrations and debate about why the bird would want to get onto a broom if it can actually fly by itself. “Perhaps like people getting onto an escalator”, clever Kai remarks. We try to guess the title of the book that the dog is reading, it is a small red book and I tell them I think he is reading DH Lawrence’s ‘Lady Chatterly’s Lover’. When the questions burst forth around that title it is my cue to leave and go have supper and watch GIRLS with my man and write this. And smile about the day. This is not only my typical day, this is the typical day of parents everywhere, regardless of the number of kids, pets and nonsense you put up with. Tomorrow is another chance to have fun. And learn, and whatever.


  1. Haha…enjoyed this read immensely. 😁

    And had a quiet chuckle at “learned helplessness “.

    I doubt it ever gets easier…it certainly gets more entertaining! So we’ll keep on sharing…it’s kind of therapeutical like that. #kidsoutnumberingparents


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