As I was waiting to be presented to her royal highness, Queen Bee of all Honey, Tabitha, who sat there in her beautiful cream coloured spotless blouse with pressed black slacks in her crown made out of pasta, cardboard and glitter, she was making an Excel list on her iPhone, marking off a checklist on her iPad and showing casing her portfolio on her MacBook.
She looked immaculate and amazing. The kind of person I dream I am at night. All of a sudden, my white dress felt childish and my Jenny Chin shoes felt inadequate.
She was the blooming Queen Apple-Bee.
There was a whole line of us waiting to see her and offer her our tributes.
Mom A took a photo of her.
Mom B took a selfie with her.
Mom C asked her for her autograph.
Mom D programmed her as the No 1 on her Favourite Speed Dial on her phone.
Mom E switched mobile plans so that she could be on the same company as her and have free UNLIMITED text messages.
Mom F Became Friends with her on Facebook and then Liked ALL her posts, including ones from 2002 with no photos.
Mum G tagged her in ALL her Facebook Posts.
Mum H scheduled all her Facebook tribute posts to her on her birthday, her anniversary, Christmas, New Year, Easter, Hair Colouring Day, Nail Clipping Day, Baking An Apple Strudel Day, Comparing Coffee mugs Day, Gardening Day, Washing Floors Day, Cleaning the Loo Day and anything else that falls in between. It usually starts with “Happy Washing Floors Day to an Amazing person who cleans so well with the most cleaning brushes I have ever known in my life! This is the Day for all of us to express our gratitude that we have you and your toilet brushes in our lives”.
Me, I had nothing to offer her. I did not even know when the noun Facebook became a verb.
“I’ll Facebook you later, k?”
“Did you Facebook me?”
My hands shook as I walked closer, to her Royal Honey-ness. I mopped my perspiration nervously.
It was my turn and as I curtsied, my right foot tripped over my left foot and my smile turned to a tic.
“Hello…” Tabitha cooed warmly, extending her hand to my lifeless body sprawled on the floor.
“Oh thanks,” I passed her my used tissue and I pulled myself up.
“Mmmm…” She murmured as she flicked the tissue expertly into a basket farthest from her even though there were five in between us.
“Hiii…” I mumbled in admiration at her tissue-throwing skill.
“So what can you do?” she cooed.
And I was dumbstruck, as all mums are when asked that question. It was not a question we normally would think. Well that’s because we’re too busy doing, leaving very little time for actually thinking.
Yes, folks, diaper changing, cleaning snotty noses, and catching vomit are reflex actions of a mum, all documented and verified by Agent Spitback in her article “The Failed Classical Conditioning of Modern Day Mothers with Pavlova” recently published in the Journal “The Enigma of Motherhood, Vol 2, Article 6”.
So what can I DO? What CAN I DO? What Do Mums Really Do?
- I can vanquish Monsters.
- My best friends are Santa, Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Superman, and all Superheroes.
- I’ve memorised all the nursery rhymes and fairy tales.
- I can make pain go away by blowing on it.
- I know all the lines/songs in the #Lego Movie.
- I can drive and sing kids’ songs at the same time.
- I can drive, sing, dance and wave my hand all at the same time.
- I have been a Professional Party Entertainer and Caterer for groups of 20.
- I am a professional Cheerleader for sporting events.
- I have been a dressmaker for Dress Up Day, Halloween and Performances.
- I have been a Keeper of Secrets.
- I am a repository of hugs, kisses, I love you, I know, I’m here, Don’t Cry.
- I can build Lego Sets even for those meant for 7-12.
- I am a Professional Finder of socks, underwear, teddy bears and raggedly old T-shirts.
- I can eat mushy food without gagging.
- I can feed two kids, have my own dinner and have a conversation in fifteen minutes.
- I can fall asleep within 5 seconds of my children sleeping, and not necessary in that order and usually before 8.30am.
- I can speak Baby, Toddler and Primary School lingo fluently. I know what “Eh-oh” means, I know what “Time for Tubby Toast” means and I know all the names of the dinosaurs and what they ate.
- I can watch Fireman Sam, Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank, Teletubbies, Sesame Street on loop for a few hours straight. I can now also watch ALL Transformer Movies in a row, TWICE.
- I can sleep sitting up.
- I can sleep, while sharing a toddler bed with a toddler.
- I can have my shower in ten seconds.
- I can use the toilet in five seconds.
- I can wear the same clothes for 24-48 hours straight.
- I can shop, clean, cook, eat and go to the public toilet with baby in a sling and toddler in a stroller.
- I am innovative – I have used more surfaces as a diaper changing table than I can remember. Even used my husband who carried baby straight up while I changed the diaper in ten seconds flat.
- I am one of the Finalist for the Fastest Diaper Slinger in Town – ever tried changing in an airplane bathroom with a baby ready to scream?
- I can hold my breath the whole time while changing the stinkiest diaper.
- I tell the best bedtime stories which puts me to sleep.
- I can fold cloth diapers with my eyes closed.
- I can say NO in five thousand languages and body movements.
- I can run faster than a screaming toddler with two unpaid squashed donuts.
- I can hide secret candy bars in places no one would ever think of.
- I can have conversations where I spell rather than say.
- I can breastfeed while in line at the Post Office.
- I can shop, clean, cook, eat and go to the toilet simultaneously with children in tow. Don’t ask.
- I am a mum taxi and an atm.
- I am a long time sufferer of Knock Knock Jokes and Pee-Poo jokes.
- I am a long term survivor of Five More Minutes Please!
- I am a Mom.
“Hello?” Tabitha blinked her false eyelashes at me.
“Nothing. I can’t do much.” I muttered honestly, as all mothers would do when asked that question.
“PERFECT!” Tabitha said as she ticked off my name and keyed into the iPad – “Unsure”.
I heaved a sigh of relief and I moved along. I could hear Melanie say enthusiastically that she could “Think Different”. I was sure I would escape this round. I would be safe.
I could go back to my old life and stay safe.
Hugh Jackman-Kevin sauntered by and smiled, “Okay?”
“Yes. She’s putting me in the “Unsure” Pile so I think I’m good.”
“Mmmm,” he frowned, “I don’t think…”
“All right, everyone, attention please,” The Principal interrupted, “Most of us are sorted, so thank you. First let us congratulate Tabitha for being elected for the Fourth Year running as Chairperson!”
Kevin then frowned and shook his head.
I heaved a sign of relief that everything seems to be going as usual-Kevin was elected as Canteen co-ordinator, one of the other Mums as the Uniform Co-ordinator…I started breathing easily as the list seemed sorted out. Everything seemed normal until…
“Now I’ll let Tabitha draw the names from the Unsure Pile!” The Principal announced, “This year, we thought that it was only fair that we draw lots on who will help run, under Tabitha’s guidance, the most important event of the year.”
“What? What?” I was in shock.
“This year we are planning one of the biggest events and…” The Principal rambled on, “and Tabitha is organising our 20th Anniversary School Fete in addition to her usual responsibilities. Something that is practically unheard of.”
“We are aiming to raise $100,000! We’re going to smash the record books,” Tabitha announced.
$100,000? How many cupcakes, hotdogs and children did we have to sell at this Fete to raise the money?”
“So we need a special person to be the Co-ordinator for Organising the Parent Volunteers,” She clicked on her iPad and then she announced, “Melanie!”
And I felt my world crumble. Melanie? Melanie?
She said the only thing she would say, “Call Lainey!” And she smiled broadly and started shaking everyone’s hands.
“Melanie?” I whispered as I shook her hand.
“Me, Lainey,” And I felt the first burst of genuine friendship in her handshake in such a long while, “Call Lainey.”
And she walked away.
“I feel sorry for her,” Kevin shook his head, “They’ll make her do all the dirty jobs. They always do that to the new Parents. That’s why they pick the newbies.”
Then I felt a surge of emotion I felt whenever I sensed my children in danger. I looked at Melanie, no, Lainey and her kit kat and I knew she would be target practice for Tabitha’s group – I could see her now, trailing behind, carrying their handbags, polishing their cars, babysitting all their children, cooking their dinners, and having the reputation of being a fabulous dressmaker, making all 22 costumes for the Year End Performance.
It was horrible as I imagined Lainey sewing 203,259 sequins by hand, one sequin at a time.
“NO!” The Mulk roared, “I’ll volunteer. Lainey, didn’t you just say you’d like to join the Uniform team?”
Lainey smiled as this was the first time someone had called her “Lainey” and she nodded at me.
“But…” Kevin looked at me.
“Are you sure?” Tabitha purred in a very low threatening voice.
“Okay then, Megan it is – the new co-ordinator!” She smiled broadly, as if she had been asked to join in the Royal Hunt as the Queen.
As the round of applause started, people started cheering because they were so glad it was not them.
How did I get from nothing, just a mum to co-ordinator of the School Fete!? How did I get myself into such things? Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad…I smiled, yes, it wouldn’t be…
Kevin shook my hand, “You’ll be fine,” he lied as the whole queue of people lined up to shake my head now.
Maybe this isn’t too bad after all as I looked at the line. Wasn’t this the acceptance I was trying to achieve?
How hard could it be after all there were already 40 things on my list of things I could do?
© ELT 2015. All rights reserved