“Overboard”, or why I love being a wife and mother

happiness-is

My 3 men

There is a lovely line in the film “Overboard”, where the rich, spoilt Goldie Hawn character falls overboard from her luxury yacht and loses her memory. Kurt Russell’s character, who is a carpenter treated badly by her earlier, sees the amnesiac woman on TV and decides to teach her a lesson by “rescuing” her, pretending she is his wife and making her look after his badly behaved kids. They do all they can to torment the woman but inevitably boys and man fall in love with her and she with them. Then she suddenly gets her memory back and gazing with joy at her acquired family says, “Thank you, you made me a wife and a mother”. Then she frowns in confusion as her mind begins to work properly and she adds, “Why did you do that?”
Well, I’m having a bit of an “Overboard” moment. I truly love being a wife and mother but sometimes I have to remind myself of that fact, especially when my new child, the furry, black one with four legs, wakes me up at 6 am on a Sunday. Since young Drake joined our family, on 30th Oct 2016, I have had 3 lie ins, total. Drake wakes me any time from 6 am to (exceedingly rarely) 7 am, so I am just a little bit tired.
I know, I keep reminding myself that I have it easy. I’m not setting off to work down a coal mine, clutching a canary, after all! However, I am in need of a bit of a rest. For months I’ve been dealing with several family dramas as well as Guido’s major back surgery. This meant running the house, cooking, cleaning, ironing, walking the dog and fitting in teaching lessons when I can, while helping Guido move around, put on his socks and underwear and reassuring us all that he will make a full recovery, even when it seems he is worse now than before the spinal fusion surgery!
So, on Friday I had the temerity to ask Guido (who is now able to put on his own socks, and had to get up early anyway on Saturday morning for a fun trip to his airfield to play with his friends) if he could get up with the puppy. Then if James took Drake for a long walk I would be able to settle down, after that longed for lie in, and do the translation that I was giving up my Saturday to do.
This plan worked fairly well and I had my blessed snuggle in bed until 8.30 am when I woke with a scrumpled up face, feeling more tired than usual because of course I was out of my routine. Later on that day, when I finally sat down for some lunch at 2.30 pm, after five hours straight of complicated translation work with Italian phrases steaming out of my ears; didactic resources, glottolinguistics, pragmalinguistics and other such gobbledygook (most of which could have been simplified by using the words “teaching methods”- ┬ábut Italians love to over complicate everything) my beloved husband bounced in from his morning out. Well, maybe he didn’t bounce because his back was hurting, even though he swore he hadn’t done anything heavy, such as pulling planes from hangars. He had limited himself to giving his plane a loving wipe down with a damp cloth (perfect position to be in for his back, that of course!) but he was a happy soul. Happy apart from being tired because he had got up too early and he really thought that I should do that from now on. Why was that, you may ask? I certainly did!
After all, he informed me reasonably, he doesn’t like to eat breakfast at that time of the morning and he doesn’t like to work on the computer, doing Twitter and Face Book and such stuff, the way that I do. He had spent a couple of hours that morning not knowing what to do with himself until I got up!
What can I say? I think maybe it is better if I do not repeat what I thought right then!!!
Later I pondered on Darwinian principles, the survival of the fittest and adaptability, at which we women certainly excel. I will share a little secret with you, dear readers. I don’t like getting up early. I do not relish breakfast at 6.30 am. I don’t like to do anything at that time, except snore. However, I am a wife and mother so – I do it. I adapt. Someone has to or there would be a very nasty mess to clear from the kitchen floor because young Drake doesn’t wear a nappy.
Similar proof that adaptability is a diminishing ability in the male of the species, once he has “trained” his woman, lies in their seeming personality change once married. The man I married was a great cook. Now he has to ask me where the most basic ingredients are kept and asks how much salt to add to things, as if he no longer possesses this skill. He remembers how to cook miraculously when watching me and offers helpful suggestions as as which knife I should be using and how his mother would have added a bit of something else to that sauce. Fortunately he doesn’t often “help” me in the kitchen or we might have seen just how sharp that other knife was!
He used to be perfectly capable of washing, ironing and generally keeping his house in perfect order. Now he occasionally Hoovers when he “cannot stand the mess any more” and helpfully points out how much dust has settled, in the couple of days since I last tackled that chore.
Does anyone else grit their teeth when they hear the familiar male cry of “Where is … ?”
“Where is my blue jumper, Mum?
“I can’t find my tracksuit bottoms, darling”
Haven’t you ironed that shirt yet, I put it to the wash a week ago!”
The same thing happens in the kitchen, although the younger male of the Parronchi species is excellent at foraging for food in the fridge, especially things that I am saving to make something special with the following day.
“I can’t find the lemon squeezer.”
“I bought new scourers – where did you put them?”
I come along, open wardrobe or cupboard door and point. Low and behold the missing objects is right there, where I said it would be, where it always is … but mysteriously invisible to male eyes.
This morning it was James’ turn to provoke me. Here is my early morning scenario a few days ago. I’m enjoying a second, well-deserved cup of coffee but keeping an eye on the time so that I can make sure James is up in time for work. I drift off a bit, dreaming of another half hour in bed and suddenly look back at the clock. Yikes, I think, son will be late. I open the door to his deep, dark pit-from-cleaning-hell, gingerly. Son grumbles in exasperation from beneath the tempting looking duvet,
“I know, I know! I’ve got the alarm on Mum!. I back out swiftly.
This morning the same thing happens but I hold off for an extra 20 minutes before I risk calling him. This time son looks at the alarm clock, swears and leaps from his bed crying,
“Why didn’t you wake me Mum?”. He is going to be just like his father.
However, the strangest thing of all is that, in spite of all of this, I do truly love being a wife and mother!

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