It’s sickening, isn’t it? From Facebook to Instagram and back again, families hand-in-hand on sunlit meadows, tiny hands baking cupcakes, wobbly colourful art, snuggling up on sofas and the results of tie-dye.
Where on earth has the tie-dye fascination come from?
Up and down the nation, parents are doing their best, and putting the most picturesque of the best on the internet. Let’s face it there’s precious little else to bung online.
So what? I hear you cry.
Shut up, you miserable, uncharitable cow! I also hear you cry.
Not just miserable and uncharitable, but hypocritical too! You’re still crying, aren’t you?
Yes, it’s true. I have subjected the world to photos of camping in my garden, culinary adventures and walks in the gloaming.
But now I’m sorry, I’ve realised that I’m part of a much bigger problem.
Like everyone else, I’m trying to get through the very many days with a full set of marbles and no pending trial for manslaughter. And it’s not easy. My efforts at this have included a cooking rota, compulsory family fun, and some laughably lame attempts at learning new things. (Actually not that laughable.) Like most families, I’m sure, we’ve also had swearing and door slamming, eye-rolling, spite, fury and muttered curses. I’m not alone in having fled the house for a life-saving walk (not my life, you understand) or ranting phone call. On a good day, this still registers as difficult and horrible.
But I was taken aback the other day when a couple of kind people who’d read my blog or seen Facebook said things along the lines of ‘you’ve got this lock-down thing nailed’ and ‘I wish my family was coping as well as yours’. (Flattered, but taken aback.)
What? Are you mad? Of course, it’s not marvelous, or successful or even all that much fun. I’m just doing my best and putting some of it online. What I haven’t done is put all the shitty bits out there for everyone to look at…
Here’s what I haven’t put on show:
- The many failed attempts at housework rotas.
- The vast amount of junk food, sweeties and fizzy drinks consumed.
- The fact we’re having to lie about the mouse-trapped rodent because it would make Boy Three cry.
- The highlight of the family quiz on Kahoot being the rude screen names. (Hugh Janus, Seymore Butts, et al)
- The schoolwork that isn’t getting done.
- The drinking that is being done.
- The tears over schoolwork that isn’t getting done.
- The hours and hours and hours squandered on video games.
- The depressingly tired bits of the house I can’t face going into.
- The energy I can’t muster to fix the depressing bits of the house.
- The rubbish in bags everywhere because the bins are full.
- The brimming irritability.
- The clutter that’s not being addressed.
- The amount of mess and dirt that five people make when they don’t have anywhere else to go to make a mess.
- Wifi that doesn’t work when it needs to.
- Raised emotions when the wifi doesn’t work.
- Chores that aren’t getting done.
- Tears over chores that aren’t getting done.
- The craft supplies bought but never used.
- That look on children’s faces when they force down a few chews of the nutritious home-made delight.
- The noise they all make when they’re eating.
- The bickering.
Therefore, as a public service, I must share the squalid details of my squabbling family and its numerous failures… just so you know you’re not doing that badly after all.
Remember: Any day that you all survive is a triumph under the current circumstances. We don’t always need to achieve, learn or succeed – getting through is enough. And the results won’t be pretty.