It’s funny how songs take you back to days gone by. For me, the soundtrack to 1996 was Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill“. Every song seemed to deeply meaningful to my seventeen year old self and even now, so many years later, I can be transported back to a time spent swooning over a long-haired musician player called Matt when I hear “Ironic”.
Anyway, a few weeks ago I heard “You Learn” on the radio and I started formulating a blog post in my head. I’d never realised how songs can mean one thing to you at one stage of your life and something completely different almost twenty years later. I planned a profound post on living, learning and melting down but I never got round to writing it.
Sometimes the lessons we learn don’t have to be deep and meaningful. Sometimes they can be useful and practical and worth sharing with your lovely readers for different reasons. To save fellow mamas from the morning-from-hell after the first School Mums’ Christmas Night Out, for example.
In order for you to learn as I have, I am going to tell you what I discovered this week. Consider it an early Christmas present, if you like.
1) Getting ready for a night out can be one of the best parts of your evening. A leisurely bath and careful application of make-up can make you feel glamorous and well-put together. This was probably the case before you had children. Equally, sharing a bath with your two little ones can be a beautiful, nurturing and wonderful experience….. sometimes. Other times your son will point out how hairy your legs are and your daughter will pull her “urgent poo” face causing a quick evacuation from the tub for all three of you. Still, at least this saves time.
2) In order to feel Christmas party-ready, glittery and/or shimmery make up is essential. Or perhaps once it was. Racing your two year old daughter to the mascara wand and winning is an impressive victory. Managing to scrape some glittery eye shadow from the carpet and on to your face earns extra points.
3) Preparation for a night out once involved little more than careful outfit selection and meticulous grooming for yourself. Nowadays, I have discovered, the smart mother plans ahead;
I should point out at this juncture that I am not the smart mother. I am not the mother who realises that only a few short hours after getting home she will have to dress herself and both of her children and be out of the house by eight o’clock in the morning and arranges clothes ahead of time. No.
I am the mother who mostly managed to get the laundry washed and dried this week but left it in various piles and bags around the house. Like a complicated and cryptic code requiring a concentrated and sharp mind to decipher. I am the woman for whom lack of sleep and being out of practice at late nights finds she does not have the necessary linguistic skills to enable her husband to crack the laundry code, either.
Socks were estranged from their mates. Tights had seemingly eloped. School trousers had mastered the game of hide-and-seek. And time ticked on. Eight o’clock moved ever closer. My stomach growled and so did I.
The organised and together mother would have made a packed lunch the night before. Locating the contents of a healthy balanced meal-in-a-box and carefully slicing cucumber to the expected standards would be a non-issue for her. Not for me though. Several trips to the fridge and thinking out-loud was helpful. “Cucumber. Butter. Salami. Yoghurt. Fruit…” repeated on a loop proved crucial to ensuring sustenance for my son and prevented him sitting down to a box of dry Weetabix with a drizzle of olive oil for lunch.
4) Now this one is important and I need you to try to remember it. Ready?
LOOK OUT OF THE WINDOW AT THE WEATHER BEFORE LEAVING THE HOUSE. By doing this you will know in advance that is is raining out and you will dress yourself and your children accordingly. This eliminates the need to return to the house, select the correct key from a bunch of many, disable the alarm and find waterproofs for all. Big time saver. Also, you can’t open the door to your house with the keys to your car. The little button doesn’t open the house.
Lastly, remember to check your diary for notable events at school each day. It will remind you that today is Christmas Dinner day and he didn’t need a packed lunch anyway!
In the words of the great Alanis:
Bye for now!
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ppps: Here’s You Learn.