Mea culpa

11 Jul

That’s me


It’s about time I said sorry. I’ve been pretty horrible. On a scale of psychotic to sane, with Jack Nicholson in the Shining at 10, and Delia Smith presenting her ‘How to Cook’ series at 1, I’m about a nine and a half. My family is probably thinking of leaving me. They’ve had enough.


My mad, bad behavior has escalated over the past week and reached a climax yesterday. I’d been waiting three weeks for a few hours of freedom. Really. My husband has been working back to back recently and I’ve been at home.  The rest of my family (those that would normally step in to save me from having a breakdown) has gone away.


When I woke up yesterday morning, my husband said he’d take over for the day. Here’s what I did in response. I cried. I don’t cry very much (not enough time and I fear that if I start I’ll never stop) but I felt blue. I blamed my husband for spilling last night’s cold tea on my side of the bed (making it look like I’d pissed myself in my sleep) and then I blamed my daughter for her bad choice of music for her alarm ringtone. “Can’t you choose something that doesn’t sound tinny on your phone speaker?” When I’d done criticising everyone, including my son, for writing in his school profile “My mum’s favourite author is Agatha Christie” I left the house.


Oh the possibilities. A day without limpets and nagging and wash loads and conversations with EDF electricity salesmen. A day without the school office calling me up to tell me my daughter has been in an altercation with a teacher. A day without my husband texting me to ask me which sandwich he should choose from Waitrose for lunch, then continuing with a ten minute monologue on good value foods and how much change he got from a tenner, and how I should take note. A day without fucking anything, in fact.


I could have gone to the Warhol exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery. I’ve been complaining that galleries and toddlers don’t mix. I could have checked out the early screening of Moonrise Kingdom at the Curzon cinema. Hell, if I felt like staying local and lo-brow, I could have gone along to the waxing lady in Brixton for some physical torture (eyebrow threading) and some anti-feminist advice about pubic hair being disgusting, unhygienic and bad for men.


But I started my day with a plan that involved none of these things. In fact, it was a plan for nothingness. It seems I had a touch of domestic fatigue because I’d been stuck in the house for so fricking long, believing that better shoe storage and the possibility of one day being able to afford to build a downstairs loo AND a utility room would improve my mental health, that when a non-domestically oriented opportunity arose, I was unprepared.


Before slamming the door on my breakfasting family yesterday, I was lashing out with venomous insults. I realized that something in me had snapped and I had temporarily lost the plot. I needed to apologise, but an immediate apology would have been pointless when I needed to think about how to fix the situation.


Having dismissed both high and lo-brow entertainment, I wandered the streets of Soho. This might sound poetic and deliberate, but my shoes had a hole in them and the only cobbler I know who doesn’t charge the best part of my child benefit is on Kingly Street.


With a new rubber sole intact by midday, I wanted to get drunk but the sane part of my brain told me to wait. With no direction and a strange craving for a simple prawn sandwich I found myself in M&S. It’s amazing how no-one minded that I ate whilst walking around the lingerie section, although it makes sense that the bras I bought were handed to me in a plastic bag with the words “Always Fishy,” printed on the outside.


Ten minutes later, and no nearer to finding a seat in the corner of a bar in which to get silently drunk, I found myself eyeing up wide fitting, wine-coloured patent flats on the M&S shoe floor. And why stop there, I thought? I could test drive the padded soles of the metallic flip flop range and marvel at the ingenuity of a shoe that delivers on both style and comfort, all in safe hues of beige and brown. I left with lingerie, but thankfully, due to my lunchtime sober head, no comfortable shoes.


At 6pm, after a snoop around the John Lewis food hall aisles, I went to Hix to read my book and drink an Old Fashioned. This was swiftly followed by another. It was like happy hour, except I was paying for both. The cocktails there are like lithium, but they work, and as the alcohol warmed my flesh I began to feel human again. And something told me that the whole day had been put on hold with the need to say sorry.


This morning, I have a gargantuan hangover, the kind that feels as if a miniature wooden hammer is tapping with clockwork regularity on the more tender areas of my brain. My Old Fashioneds were followed by more drinks at a pub en route to home, with friends. And although my head is sore I feel truly sorry. When I stop feeling so mad, I’ll stop behaving like this. I won’t be trying on Footglove shoes on my rare days off. I’ll have focus and won’t feel the need to bring my family down too. Sorry children, for making you believe that you are being bad. You behave awfully a lot of the time, but this week it’s been me setting bad examples. If you ever have a husband, or a wife, children, both or none of that then you’ll know what I’m talking about. When you’re an adult, you get pretty good at saying sorry and actually meaning it.




2 Responses to “Mea culpa”

  1. Kathi July 11, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    haha, i could have written that today (ok i didnt try foot glove shoes or get drunk.. i guess i am still abusing them as i type.. better get the baby out of the cot.) saying sorry is good. i might follow your example and try it tonight.

    • mothersruined July 11, 2012 at 11:36 am #

      Oh Kathi, good to hear I’m not the only witch (though I can’t believe you’re horrible like me). Hope you enjoyed sleeping in your own bed last night!

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