Maternity Leave (Poem)

I have recently started to write poetry again as well as writing this blog. I used to write poetry as a teenager and wrote a few poems in the intervening years but now I am trying to write more. The following is a stream-of-consciousness poem about our day today that I thought I would share. It is entitled:

Maternity Leave

My vest top is soaked
with milk I must have
fed him on the wrong
side I did have a breast
pad in he is grumping
now in his cot his
brother watching Wylie
Coyote on the TV there
are no less than five
empty cups in the
lounge and a bag of
nappies in the bathroom that
need to go round to the
bin and the washing
up that my husband
did last night has grown
again as if by magic
spreading from the
sink like a disease.

There is a pile of
clothes on the bed as
if we never do laundry
when it seems like all
we do is laundry and
washing up and every
time you feed the baby
there is laundry (wash-
cloths, bibs, clean clothes)
and washing-up (bowl,
several spoons, high-chair
tray) I just ate
three chocolate bars by
mistake (it may have
been four) only one was
a mistake really – it was my
son’s; I couldn’t
remember if I had eaten
my one (though I ate four
it seems) there are two
left: one for him one
for his dad.

The fridge needs cleaning
and the bags packing for
the holiday I did book the
travel insurance and wipe
down the toilet seat lid with
the antibacterial wipes that
were the wrong ones for
the baby’s toys on
the plane and we did
buy a (secondhand) bookcase
for the DVDs and a
ride-on suitcase my
son is now sitting on to
watch TV. We returned
books to the library and
bought toys for the plane
and bought stuff for dinner
(and the right sort of anti-bac
wipes) then I dropped
the (other) DVD rack on my
foot and got the frozen
beans and the baby was grumpy
and the lounge still a mess
and my husband walks
in the door and I remember
when he stayed home with
the (one) kid for a while
while he was waiting for his
visa and I was mildly
irritated that I had been
at work all day and
the house was not spotless.

Now it is not just not spotless
it has grown new spots as I
play whack-a-mole with
the tidying and it all seems
a bit silly like there really
aren’t enough hours in the
day and I even got up early
this morning and made eggs
and didn’t even go on my
smartphone to read the news
(except for about five minutes).


“Maternity Leave” © Alexandra Roark 2015


Holy Crap (This House is A Mess)

“What does crap mean?” M asks as he sits at the kitchen table watching me get lunch ready. “Um… It’s not a good word to use but it means poo, or mess” I respond, acutely aware that I have just shouted up the stairs to berate my husband for not cleaning the oven the other night when the “eggplant spaghetti parmesan lasagne surprise” he made spilled over the sides of the dish and made the smoke alarms go off. Twice. I may have uttered the phrase: “So now I have to scrape all this bloody crap off the oven before I can put the pizza in!”

So much for crap. It has invaded my house and taken up residence. On all surfaces. It has been this way for a while now. Fast forward to this evening. Plan was to come back from the park — where we had a lovely time, except for at the end when I said that it was now too late to go to Grandma’s house but that we would go tomorrow and I wasn’t sure if anyone was even there anyway. Which led to M screaming like a banshee in the park cafe and then spending the walk back to the car hurling threats at me: “I want to go to Grandma’s… The only thing that will make me stop crying is if we can go to Grandma’s… This is all. Your. Fault. Mum.” (That last one repeated over and over for the last half of the walk. Luckily his father walked with him while I pushed L ahead in his buggy, glad that my husband was there as I alternately stifled the urge to laugh and the urge to pick M up and throw him in the stream) — and tidy up.

The reality of this evening has nothing to do with tidying up. It is 8.30pm. Earlier I turned to my husband and thanked him for being in this with me and even earlier than that I asked him, tongue in cheek, if he would be having more fun if he was having a hangover Saturday à la a (currently childless) friend of mine we were supposed to meet in the park but who, for reasons that are a distant blur to us now, decided to stay in bed instead. We have so far tonight: made M two dinners (I ate the first one; he didn’t really eat the second but still managed to blag supper); fed L two bowls of baby rice; put the shopping away; showered M and bathed L; nipped out to the shops to pick up things I forgot at Tesco and pick up some well-deserved beer (that was him); brushed teeth and read stories; fed L some more milk (that was me!) And sang songs (also me).

My husband is now making curry (yes!) and I was going to put the clothes away but as I am blessed with the baby who will neither nap nor sleep in the evenings, that hasn’t happened. L will not sleep and wants to be on me, as he does most of the time lately. Last night after dinner and Daredevil, I spent an hour doing the washing up and mopping the kitchen floor but then it was 11.30pm and nothing else got done (and I thoroughly resented all of the washing up that was created today). So now my house looks like this:

The kitchen after the two dinners and supper (to be fair, the pile on the right has been there a while…)
The bottom of the stairs. I tidied the lounge a bit by moving the bags of crap downstairs to sort out but then never got to the sorting…
The lounge. The less said about this the better. Luckily L is not crawling yet!
The wardrobe we got off Freecycle but have yet to move upstairs.















I may manage to hoover tomorrow and I am determined to sort the junk. I have announced a new “house rule” for the morning that M proudly told his dad at dinner: everyone has to pick up 5 things and put them where they live. Actually make that 10 things. I may make it a rule for visitors too: welcome to our home, see if you can find the home for 5 pieces of the random crap you see around you while I put the kettle on…

The house is totally kicking my butt and I really need to learn to be OK with that because there just aren’t enough hours in the day when you have a baby that won’t nap or really be put down. It isn’t dirty just messy and what the hell right?

M learned to ride his bike today. L went in a swing for the first time. M then fell off a fence and bashed his chin, he had ice cream and a massive tantrum, and then tonight he read me a whole proper book (not a reading scheme one) by himself with help with the big words… though randomly he managed to read the word “Labrador.”

I love my boys. I have been trying to let go of the stress of all the tidying that needs doing this week and just play with the kids instead. I will keep trying.