It was the usual chaotic morning. The alarm rudely shrieked its annoying ringtone, waking Cat at 7am. She considered throwing the blasted thing out of the nearest bloody window; surely there was a better way to start the day than having to get out of bed. Still not quite used to the new features of her mobile she fiddled with the ‘dismiss’ button. Was it a swipe or a push—or a smash with something heavy… It was too early for this shit. She grabbed her dressing gown, couldn’t be bothered with slippers and slouched downstairs in search of coffee and a shower.
The 7am alarm gave her a 20 minute head start; enough time to whack on the kettle and jump in the shower before the kids got up. One of the few bonuses of being a single parent was that there were fewer people to contend with in the morning. No rows about whose needs for the bathroom were more important, no drama over how much time a man needs in the toilet… She often wondered what took them so long or, indeed, how they got through so much damned paper.
As she stepped into the shower her thoughts were on the day ahead; school run, boring housework, even more boring house admin—the kind of stuff that makes your brain ache with tedium—bank transfers, bills, uploading her latest meter reading. She wished she’d spent her previous evening at work wasting time more productively and reducing today’s to-do list.
The shower was hot on her skin as she remembered yesterday’s conversation with Tony. Instantly, it made her blood boil. She decided not to think about work or him for the rest of the day, especially in the shower. Tony absolutely did not deserve her naked shower thoughts, even if he was hot and would probably look great dripping wet… all soapy and… and … and… enough! Absolutely no more naked Tony shower thinking. Cat mentally kicked herself for allowing her mind to wonder so irresponsibly.
The alarms started ringing next door as a slightly more awake and fruity smelling Cat reached for a towel. In mere moments the chorus of “MUM!” would resonate through the house as the demands for breakfast began. Sure enough, two adorably sleepy children popped their heads through the door. She loved it when the kids were docile and cute.
Her youngest, Myke, held up his arms for a cuddle and Cat scooped him up instantly, bending to kiss her daughter, Liz, as she did.
“Right, you two, what we having for breakfast?”
“Chish and flips please mummy!” requested 4 year old Myke. Cat chuckled.
“Well, my little monkey, chish and flips is for dinner tonight so how about cereal or toast instead?”
“Chocolate cereal please! And then I can drink the milk and Myke’s milk too if he doesn’t finish it,” a cheeky grin spread across Liz’s face as she spoke.
“But, mum, she can’t have my chocolate cereal juice! It’s mine!” The whining had started already.
“Okay, okay, everyone has their own milk juice and eats their own breakfast,” Cat huffed as the three of them marched downstairs to the kitchen.
The kettle was still hot and Cat realised she hadn’t finished making her coffee. She grabbed two bowls from the cupboard along with a mug and began the technical process of preparing cereal; a delicate procedure ensuring each kid has their favourite bowl with the precise cereal-to-milk ratio, respectively. She dished out their perfect breakfasts in the living room and went back to making her coffee in the kitchen.
It was only when she poured the milk into her coffee that she noticed the gut-wrenching curdle of lumpy white goop floating in her mug; the milk was off. In that same moment, Myke voiced his disapproval. The boy dropped his bowl with a clash and a howl: “Urgh, yeck mummy! This chocolate juice is yucky and bad!” The inevitable teary wailing followed.
Grabbing the nearest tea towel with an exasperated sigh, Cat returned to the living room. The scene was one of devastation; a Willy Wonker blood bath. The bowl had been swiped from the table, its contents all over her cream rug. What hadn’t hit the rug had spread across the laminate floors, coating the wooden surface in a stench of brown chocolate liquid.
Myke’s tears were still flowing as Liz looked on in bemused shock. “Mum, he just threw it on the floor,” she said. “Glad I didn’t eat mine; it stinks!”
The morning routine was screwed. Cat knew that by the time she’d cleared the carnage, washed the rug, consoled Myke and finally gotten the kids ready, they were going to be late for school. Again. And she hated being late for anything.
Thus was the downside of single parenting: when life doesn’t go as planned there‘s no one to fall back on. You can’t divide the chores, ask for help or split tasks in an emergency. With two of you involved, one can manage the aftermath while the other manages the kids—but when you’re alone with two children you’re already grossly outnumbered. Kate had no choice but to be both cleanup crew and mummy, all without the vital dose of caffeine she was so desperately craving. Bollocks…
If you would like to catch up with Cat and join the adventures as she bumbles her way through single life, then here’s the story so far…