How NOT to relax (and how NOT to be a Domestic Goddess)

You know you’ve hit a low point when you start crying over pastry.

Last week I attempted to mimic my own mum’s easy domesticity by following her apple pie recipe with my son. It didn’t go to plan. Rather than the calm, domestic scene I had envisaged, I ended up sucking back tears and profanities as my attempts to roll out pastry were hindered by the presence of a giant pregnancy bump. The more the pastry broke and crumbled, the angrier I became and, tipped over the edge by yet another pointless ‘Whyyyyyyy?’ from my toddler, I snapped and burst into tears.

This is what being overdue and hormonal does to you.

Enough was enough, said my husband. I needed a rest. By that evening he had cajoled various relatives into helping with childcare and I was forced to relinquish control.

2 days later I had an entire child free day. I had no idea what to do!

‘Eat chocolate and watch films!’

‘Sit on the sofa and do nothing.’

‘SLEEP!!!’

…came the suggestions via Facebook and WhatsApp.

What my friends and family failed to remember is that I am completely incapable of relaxing. Always have been.

My son left with his Grandad at 9am, and by 11am I had:

  • Washed up
  • Cleaned the kitchen
  • Made a vat of chilli
  • Done some washing
  • Put away the ironing
  • Taken out the rubbish (including a rather embarrassing and time consuming stop to scrabble round and clear up the mess as one of the bags broke all over the floor outside our block)
  • Begun to defrost the freezer – a completely unnecessary and unplanned activity

Tired and achy, I imagined my disapproving husband’s face if he could see me buzzing around and forced myself to slob for a few hours in front of the telly.

I couldn’t do it. No matter how much chocolate I ate or how many episodes of The Good Wife I lined up, I could feel my brain making a mental to do list, silently analysing and categorising all the jobs I could be getting done in the house free of a meddling toddler. There was only one thing for it: if I was going to relax, I’d have to go out.

As I packed my bag, I paused briefly to check the progress of the freezer. Slow going. Doubtless it hadn’t been defrosted since years before we’d moved in and some shelves resembled sections of the Antarctic more than they did a household appliance. If I left it like this I’d either come home to a swimming pool on my kitchen floor, or it would still be a giant block of ice and I’d have achieved nothing. I couldn’t have that!

I’d just give it a helping hand. Scrape a few bits off with…erm…a knife! That would work. Almost like an ice sculpture.

BIG MISTAKE!!

10 minutes later and I’m manically Googling ‘hissing freezer’ with every window in the house wide open, having pierced a tiny hole in the side which I was convinced was spewing toxic gasses certain to kill me and the baby within seconds. Why was I such a moron? Why couldn’t I just watch Loose Women like a normal person?!

Thanks to the internet, I quickly discovered 4 things:

  1. I was not going to die
  2. I’m a moron
  3. Lots of other people are equally moronic
  4. I have broken my freezer

And so I realised that I am not simply incapable of relaxing, I am dangerous. It wasn’t my pregnancy or my hormones that ruined the apple pie, it was me!  I am no Domestic Goddess; I am a Domestic Devil!

The sooner I accept this fact, the better. But I won’t, because I am as good at being stubborn as I am bad at relaxing.

I’m tired now. I should go put my feet up. But our washing machine has been playing up. Maybe I could have a quick look before I put dinner on…

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