Well it finally happened. I knew the day would come and it has. At exactly 17.27 today I became one of those mothers. The type that opens a bottle of wine and gulps back a glass before the children have gone to bed. It wasn't intentional and I don't think I need to sign up for the AA just yet. But I was standing next to the cooker making the millioneth meal of the week that would no doubt be rejected anyway, and I saw a bottle of red wine that had been opened at some point and was standing idly on the counter top with a stopper in it. I have no idea how long it has been there. But it spoke to me. And I listened, grabbed a glass, poured and gulped.
Before you think I'm a complete lush, I must explain. It's not been a good day. The morning was a disaster thanks to son 1 trying to finish a homework project that he decided involved using a camera who's batteries kept dying. It's a long, arduous story but in the end, we got to school late with me very flustered. That said, it was the first day this week that I managed to remember not to leave the house keys in the door. And at least today there wasn't the half chewed remnants of a mouse's head on the doormat which there had been earlier in the week.
I then had a lovely neighbour take son 2 to pre-school so that I could head off for my mammogram. I was late for that too and the NHS decided to pay me back by making me wait a good long time before they'd see me. The term 'hurry up and wait' springs to mind. I then had the pleasure of having my breasts yanked across hard pieces of machinery with the radiographer telling me to relax my shoulder, but stretch my arm and lean forward but twist my head to the side and bend in and relax the shoulder again and keep still. It was like being in a yoga class. Only in the yoga classes I've been to they don't clamp your breast in a piece of machinery with a deathlike grip.
So after that pleasant interlude I got my breasts ultrasounded. The last time I had an ultrasound I was looking at a teeny tiny baby bopping about in my belly, blissfully unaware that it would reject every meal I made for it in the future. Looking at breast tissue is far less interesting. It turns out that I have nothing wrong with me, except for a lump of tissue that even the doctor seemed quite surprised by the size of. But it's just a ball of fat, for lack of a better description. So that's better than the alternative although still not something you want to brag about at a dinner party.
I then raced home and tried to squeeze a full day's work into 3 hours. It didn't fit.
Then I galloped off to fetch boy children 2 and 1 and brought them home amid wails of how they wanted to go to a friends house. But we had things to do. A) Laundy B) General tidy of house C) Go to swimming.
I wouldn't ordinarily subject my children to household chores directly after school, but the house was in a complete state. The curtains hadn't even been opened since last night, beds were unmade, at least 5 loads of laundry were scattered around the house and the cupboards looked as though they were vomiting out their contents.
But the children were hungry and wanted snacks. I gave them snacks. Then I gave them extra snacks and after that we had one more snack. At which point I said I really needed to do the laundry. Son 1 (you might be starting to realise that he's the - shall we say - more temperamental of the two) starting screaming that he wanted something else to eat because he was hungry. I offered him a sandwich with his choice of a filling, an apple or a yogurt. None of these would fill him up apparently. He told me this a LOT and LOUDLY - for a full 45 minutes until he was beside himself yet again. None of this bode well for the forthcoming swimming which he's always so enthusiastic about.
And so it came time for us to go to swimming. This heralded a new, more joyous and even louder tantrum than the last. Now I've been here before when it comes to swimming. I have to just go, get him there under whatever means necessary, let him get to the side of the pool still screaming and wailing like he's being murdered and let the staff take over. He then sobs for the first pool width and by the end of it is beaming ear to ear.
Today wasn't going to work that way. Today I couldn't get him into clothes to leave the house. Having tried every tactic on the planet I resorted to his competitive edge and offered his swimming place to his younger brother who is dead keen but too young for the class. This was a gamble. Son 2 might have said no and the swimming school could easily say a bigger no. But to hell with it, desperate times call for desperate measures. Son 2 jumped at the chance and so with more screaming from son 1, we finally got to the swimming pool with minutes to spare. I then gave son 1 his last chance to go swimming. He refused but when he saw son 2 getting into his swimming things, the wheels came off and he literally clawed the swimming costume off his brother. Which funnily enough put son 2 right off swimming too.
I won't even go into all the twists and turns in this saga suffice to say that I ended up sitting watching other people's children swim for 30 minutes while my two sat at my feet. Money well spent I feel.
And so we got home and instantly the 'I'm hungry' chant started up, while the telephone rang incessantly with work calls which I tried to take but gave up as I couldn't hear a thing over the yelling. So I tried to create a nutritious meal out of nothing in under a minute and it was while doing this that I spotted the bottle of wine. And thought: Sod it.
Now I know how it happens. And I have empathy - vats of it - for all the mothers who are forced to guzzle wine before the 7pm watershed out of sheer desperation. May tomorrow be a better day.