I look forward to the weekends, I really do. By Friday, Littlest Cat is usually sick of the sight of me and I'm ready to hand over a little bit of the 24x7 caring to Daddy Cool or our Rach. However, I'm noticing that what I think is going to happen at the weekend rarely does, and in fact those two days can be the hardest of the week.
Now, I will fully admit that I'm a control freak, which probably doesn't help. However, while I'm dreaming the modest mum dreams of a shower on my own, maybe a leg shave and a luxurious hair wash in my properly cleaned house with its empty laundry basket, the other occupants of the house are conspiring against me.
Take the hair washing, for example. I put Dom down for a nap two hours after he gets up. He only likes sleeping in his pram during the day, which is fine by me. I keep his pram in the living room until after his afternoon nap, and he gets popped in there at the appropriate times and rocked to sleep (I know, I know, rod for my own back etc etc, but we'll sort out the nights first, then deal with the days. I'm only human). Once I'm sure he's asleep, I tell Daddy Cool, who is sprawled on the couch watching Discovery Max, to keep an eye on him and rock him back asleep if he stirs. I tell him that this nap lasts anything from half an hour to 3 hours depending on how he slept the night before, but on no account is the baby to be allowed to wake up fully unless he has slept for at least 30 minutes. Any less and he turns into a ball of whinge who cannot and will not be placated NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO. I go and get a lovely shower, wash my hair and emerge from the bathroom 20 minutes later with grandiose ideas of maybe even breaking out the GHDs and straightening it once it's been dried. The first thing I hear is Daddy Cool chatting. "Oh, please no," I mutter to myself, before opening our bedroom door to find a giggling baby and a happy daddy, whose smiling face instantly shows a brief covering of guilt before he manages to cover it up.
"He woke up and wouldn't go back asleep," he says sheepishly.
"How long ago?" I ask, already knowing the answer.
"Ah, about 10 - 15 minutes..."
Great. The baby slept for 5 minutes. Is there some sort of secret way that I rock the pram that only I know about? Does he have radar? This never happens through the week! Maybe it's because I use naptime to do productive things Monday - Friday, like dishes and washing. Maybe he's been sent from an alien planet to make sure I never enjoy a pamper session again.
"But look! He's in a lovely mood!" says Mat, anxiously checking to see if this is still the case. Of course, it's not. Thunderclouds are beginning to loom on the tiny brow as Littlest Cat realises that 5 minutes of sleep only feels like a proper nap for - well, about 5 minutes. Now there is something wrong with him and he doesn't know what, but he would like the issue to be resolved, please. Immediately if not sooner. What he doesn't realise is that the problem is tiredness. He's still tired - but definitely not tired enough to sleep again, oh no. That would be far too easy. I attempt distraction, blowing raspberries and hoping to stave off the faceache for just a few more minutes. He's got just enough energy to vocalise his displeasure, and grizzles for the next two hours until his body clock tells him he's allowed to close his gorgeous eyes again. Littlest Cat is a creature of habit.
Daddy Cool, his job done, lies back on the bed and closes his eyes - his subtle reminder that he is in work in a few hours and, having been awake for 60 minutes and spent a third of that time looking after the baby, has earned his own sleep. I pretend not to notice and tell Dom that it's time for a nappy change, knowing that Mat can't resist the urge to offer to do things I'm already doing. He thinks it gives him the same brownie points as actually doing things, without any of the pesky effort involved (more on that later). I call his bluff.
"Go on, then, I'll dry my hair," I say, and leg it to the bathroom, hoping to make it in time to salvage something from the slowly frizzing mop on my head. Too late - my fringe has already set itself in an odd shape that would not be achievable with a top stylist and 6 cans of Extra-Hold hairspray, there to remain until the next time I wash my hair. This, of course, will be next weekend. Thank Christ for thick, non-oily hair (actually,dry and straw-like, but let's count our blessings - it's not greasy) and bobbles.
Onto the cleaning. I've already brushed and mopped before LC got up, so Daddy Cool takes great pleasure in scattering crumbs from his sandwich all over the living room. Our Rach is 21, so is legally required to leave a trail of belongings behind her like a particularly well-dressed hurricane. All thoughts of maybe doing the big jobs, like sorting out Littlest Cat's wardrobe (how can he have grown out of everything AGAIN?) or putting away my summer clothes, maybe clearing out the kitchen cupboards, are abandoned as I realise that everything I do during the week needs doing countless times at weekends, because having three adults in the house means that two people are thinking "I'll put it away in a minute," then forgetting to, and one (me) is silently fuming along, tutting and huffing and generally being a narky arse as rooms that were tidyish are slowly buried under mountains of stuff.
Littlest Cat's grizzling reaches dangerous levels, so after a feed, he's back in his pram and I'm rocking and soothing, trying to get him to sleep. This is when Daddy Cool starts to get ready for work. This involves leaving the living room and bedroom doors open a lot, so that I consider just taping myself saying "Doooor" and leaving it playing in the hall which, apparently, we enjoy paying to heat with the energy that was meant for the living room (Spanish houses are built for summer, conveniently forgetting that other seasons happen. This combined with no central heating means high electricity bills to run a portable heater that is dragged around the house by the cable like a reluctant puppy). It is necessary to his well-being that he only ever pushes a door handle down halfway, so every time he enters or leaves a room (approximately 8,000 times over a 20 minute period), his arrival or departure is announced with a loud click and Dom's eyes ping open. He's running late, which means all pretence at being quiet is abandoned and my pleas to just keep it down a little elicit a stream of grumbles and grouches. Finally, he leaves. Littlest Cat is asleep, our Rach and her hangover are snoring on the couch, and I can start restoring my world to order. Or, I can sit down and have a good old moan in Blogville.
I realise I sound like a right old grouch. In fact - terrifying thought - I sound like my mum. Like everyone's mum. Every time I think "Am I the only one who can see things that need doing?" I'm transported back to when I was younger and lived with my mum and, later, with my aunty. I thought I was being helpful by doing whatever was asked of me. I'm sorry, ladies. I now realise that the Holy Grail of motherhood is for other people to do things without being asked. Otherwise, I'm just a nag. What have I become?