Half-term. That little week where you wait eagerly for school to finish so that you can spend time with your little darlings. Motherly guilt about how little time you have spent with them recently is assagued by the fact that you will have 9 whole days with them (Cue Mary Poppins style mental image of happy kite flying, smiles all around). Sunny skies, happy giggles and healthy snacks abound.
Obviously if you have made the
ridiculously stupid yet brave lovely decision to take the little darlings away for the week, you will now be faced with the packing. It’s fine, you tell yourself. I mean, I dress them every day. I just have to put seven sets of everything in a bag, and hey presto. You are, of course, totally deluded (but you can put it down to parental exhaustion, so it’s fine).
The yummy mummy breezes gracefully around her neat and recently hoovered home, easily lifting piles of freshly laundered clothes into her irritatingly pristine suitcase. The clothes will of course be The Little White Company. All white and lineny, and impossible to ever clean after the first wear, unless you are a yummy mummy. Then again, her little darlings can eat a bowl of spaghetti bolognese in a busy Italian restaurant without getting so much as a splash on their Little White Company outfits. They would never, ever be found playing pasta Star Wars under the table, you know, launching pasta rockets at each other, or anything like that. They would definitely never be caught using spaghetti pasta to fire meatballs at the waiters ankles. Never.
The Un-yummy mummy frantically machine washes and tumble dries the laundry pile, which has started to look more like the Pyrenees mountain range than a ‘pile’. Everybody knows that if you whisk the stuff straight out of the tumble drier and fold it you don’t need to iron, right? The Un-yummy mummy discovers that this is a bit of a lie. Cue frantic ironing. The plan to arrange each child’s packing neatly on their bed goes particularly badly. Obviously as soon as you do that, the little darlings have an urgent need for a pretend nap, chucking your haphazard piles onto the floor. The Un-yummy Mummy re-assures herself for the 55th time that it may be Lands End, but it’s not world’s end we are going to. There is bound to be a Sainsbury’s right? Anyway, after the time they lost Patch’s suitcase in Egypt and he spent the whole week in the same pair of pants (and only pants!), it seems sensible to mix up the packing a little. It’s organised chaos.
It only takes a mere 8 hours to launder, iron and pack for the 4 little darlings. Upon realising that I now have to pack for myself, and having developed an overwhelming phobia of laundry, the Un-yummy mummy pops off to Sainsbury’s with the general idea of buying a couple of outfits which can be quickly handwashed and hung each evening, and be ready for the next day. The minimalistic approach. That’s the way forwards.
One large bill and several ill fitting garments later, the Un-yummy mummy starts laundering her pre-existing clothes. The returns will have to be done when we get back. However, I have now realised precisely how the yummy mummy does it. It’s Waitrose (and Ocado)! I bet they keep it a secret, the yummy mummy’s only and all that. I’ll bet they have a special Waitrose ‘Holiday packed suitcase ordering service’. You just click the child’s age, gender, favourite colour and name (name labels people), along with the destination country and length of stay. Within 48 hours, your pre-packed child specific suitcases arrive ready to go. No need to pack at all. I bet Ocado even offer an accelerated service, you know, the two hour service for busy working mums who forgot they were going on holiday.
Having not packed anything for myself as it all has to go back to Sainsbury’s, I console myself with the fact that the kids have clothes packed. They may not be ironed, or appropriate to the weather, but the kids will not be naked, which is a major plus. The Un-yummy mummy stuffs her brood with pizza, and, feeling suitably exhausted, sneaks down the garden to a sunny spot with a Martini Rosso and Coke (which would have been lemonade, but the little darlings guzzled it while I wasn’t looking).
The yummy mummy will undoubtedly be eating organic quinoa and vegetables with low fat homous with her little darlings, supping calorie free Shloer or something similar. They will be sitting in the sun, dog at their feet waiting patiently for a treat. The cat will obviously be sleeping in his garden cat nest, absorbing the atmosphere as though he were a feline Mozart.
The Un-yummy mummy’s escape was apparently far from un-noticed. The kids, dog, cat and chickens all pile down the garden within 60 seconds. The Martini gets knocked over onto the Un-yummy mummy’s novel (not yet started). This startles the cat who jumps onto her knee. At precisely that moment a twin turns the hose on the dog. The hose sounds like a cat hissing. The dog yelps at the cold water, while the hose hisses like a cat. The cat leaps in panic and is several gardens away before the blood starts flowing from the Un-yummy mummy’s arm and leg.
Now the Un-yummy mummy is still unpacked, has no novel for her holidays, and is drinking wine while waiting for the painkillers to kick in. Cats only have 5 claws, and they are not particularly wide. They are deep though. Very deep.
Next time, I want to join the yummy mummy’s Waitrose/Ocado pre-packed suitcase club. For now, though, I am really looking forward to first night holiday snuggles! (…and wine…and takeaway……!!!)
Happy holidays everyone!