After eleven years and ten months, I have finally lost my battle. My life has been completely hijacked and I have absolutely none left.
The kids have won.
Now, obviously my kids were supposed to take over my life. That is the nature of parenthood. As a mother, I was supposed to gracefully accept that my wishes and needs would forevermore come second to those of the small people in my care.
But still, there were things I did to protect myself from utter annihialation, to make sure that somewhere inside the Mum there remained a bit of ME; to enure that I retained my sanity when all around me were doing their absolute best to drain it away.
For this to occur, there were three Golden Necessities I had to maintain:
1. The kids had to be in bed at a decent hour so that I could get 30 minutes of child-free chore-free time before collapsing unconscious on my pillow each night.
2. I had to have 15 minutes of peace each morning in which to eat my breakfast and read the paper to allow my brain (and sanity) to kick into gear before the long day ahead.
3. I needed to keep after school activities to a minimum - no more than two afternoons a week - to prevent a mad homework/dinner/bath rush every single afternoon.
And it worked. I stayed sane. Until now.
It began with bedtime. The older my son has got, the later he has gone to sleep (and damnit! he keeps getting older!). Now, at the age of eleven, he is rarely asleep before ten. This is absolutely fine, except that he insists on calling me into his room every five minutes to give me a detailed update on his failure to slumber. Which means no uninterrupted TV, no sex, and no relaxation for me until well after ten. I'm not so worried about the sex part, but the rest really bothers me.
The after school activities have also got completely out of hand. From just karate on a Monday and dance on a Friday, we suddenly have the addition of Barmitzvah* practice on a Tuesday, soccer training on Wednesday, debating Friday, softball Saturday and a soccer game Sunday. I am a slave to the diary. I am the Queen of Schlepping. And I HAVE NO LIFE.
Thankfully, though, I still have my precious fifteen minutes at the breakfast table every morning. I sit down with a nice steaming cup of WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I haven't had my special breakfast time since last year when Boo started creche and I actually had to feed and dress her before we left the house! I'm lucky if I get to gulp down a Berocca before 9am.
But it's fine. Really. All this racing around is no big deal. I may be a little flustered and short tempered, but I'm absolutely in control. And this twitch in my eye will pass any day now.
Now if you'll excuse me, it's 9.50pm and my son is calling me. And then I'd better go and have my coffee and eat my breakfast, because I sure as hell won't have time to do it in the morning.
*Barmitzvah - a coming of age ritual for the Jewish boy when he turns 13, in which he reads from the Bible in front of friends and family, and prays that his voice doesn't break in the middle of it.