Lazy Mothers

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Sitting still and doing nothing is a guilt-ridden nightmare

You’re not going to believe what I’ve done. I can hardly believe it myself.

I’ve just peeled myself off the couch.

Yes, you read it right. And it’s not even 11pm. It’s, like, 11am. In the morning.

And what did I do on that couch? I rested. I took time out. I lazed. I turned on the television. I know!!!

Not only that, I poured myself three cups of milky tea in a row and ate a Chomp (“Wafer Biscuit and Caramel Coated with Compound Chocolate”) and a Magical Elf (“Cadbury® Dairy Milk® Chocolate with Magical Popping Candy”). The hot tea helped wash them down.

Next to me was a pile of Aussie magazines and local newspapers, which I flicked through flippantly. I put them there to help me come to terms with the fact that we live in Australia again because right now it seems we don’t live anywhere. On the tele, I delighted in a little bit of fluff and a little bit of spiritual intent (via Ellen and Oprah, respectively), then I closed my eyes for a short while and I actually cleared my mind.

Of course, the clamour didn’t take long to descend. Things started poking into the black void behind my eyes. I got to thinking how cool the house was feeling after a much-needed cold change and that I’d have to look up how to operate the ducted heating. I flinched at the mental image of that lone iceberg rose I forgot to deadhead yesterday afternoon. I recalled some defrosting needs for dinner. I then remembered the kids have no school jackets, only t-shirts. I wondered if they were cold. I got up to ring the school about getting some early winter uniform stock.

Then I went back to the couch. Yes, I did. And I magazine flicked and couch snuggled AGAIN.

This is a strange thing for me to do. It’s been so long since I’ve done this, and even now, the mother-guilt is skulking around. Sure, I haven’t physically sat still for an inordinate number of months and probably well deserve a good couch snuggle, but I still can’t help feeling that I’m committed a debauched domestic crime.

My husband is on the second day of his new role at work. My kids are diligently opening their little minds and letting some education in. I am laying on the couch, shoveling chocolate and watching trash.

Why do I feel so bad? Is the guilt self-imposed?

The world is run by mothers. The fundamentals, the operations of the world at a base, primal level – from changing nappies to kissing away boo-boos – is done by mums. We provide the clean underwear, the plates full of veggies and the shining toilet bowls the world needs to operate, from moguls to men at work.

Sometimes, when mums get jack of cleaning up stink and hunting for nutrition and padding houses with love, they need to lay down on the couch. I just hope, as this ex-Beijing mum relaxes into a slower-paced Aussie life, that the guilt resides enough to let me enjoy this luscious, couch-snuggling morning on a more regular basis.

I don’t know how often it will happen in the future, but I have to say – I liked it.

First published on the City Weekend Beijing website.

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