Motherhood hasn’t come naturally to Daisy Leverington. Three years in and she remains wide-eyed, terrified and in awe of the little person she’s responsible for. This week, she internally ponders the perpetual balancing act.
“You should play with her, look at that little face!
I’m just checking Twitter.
But these years are the most special, you wont get them back.
I don’t want them back thank you. Nearly done.
Bless her, she just wants some attention. She’s staring at you.
And I just want five minutes to look at my phone and have a poo.
What if she’s a slow reader because you didn’t read to her every day?
She’s three, she can’t read.
She’ll NEVER learn if you don’t teach her and it’ll be your fault.
I do stuff with her all the time! Every day, all day! Even when I don’t want to!
Not QUALITY stuff though. Like baking. Linda bakes with Hermione all the time.
I can’t cook. And Linda can shit off.
And so she will never know how to feed herself.’
She can call a take-away, she can work my phone. Hermione can’t work an iPhone.
Look, she’s trying to hug the cat. Heartbreaking really.
She’s FINE. The cat is good for her.
What if she injures herself while you’re drying your hair?
I’ll hear it.
What if she knocks herself out?
Fine, I’ll air-dry. 1996 was a good year for me anyway.
Is that the fridge opening?
Nope, I put the catch on.
What if she’s hungry, or using food to fill a lonely void in her heart.
Wait, we’re still talking about the kid right?
Maybe you should have another kid so she’s not so lonely.
Or maybe I should work out how to raise this one first.
No, you should definitely breed.
Well at least get off Twitter and play with her then.
JESUS CHRIST! OKAY!”
Every time I pick up my phone a version of this transcript runs through my head.
Both sides are me, and both make good points.
Instead of an angel and a devil there is a happy kid on one shoulder and a happy mum on the other. Balancing this utterly confusing conversation between raising a healthy child and my own healthy mind is tricky.
Spend all day playing Guess Who and I lose the plot, but have a happy, engaged kid. Spend all day getting work done and having actual conversations with actual adult humans results in a ball of lightening streaking through the lounge in the shape of a bored toddler.
Pick up my phone and she’s batting away at the screen like a monkey learning sign language.
Try to bake a cake (I mean one of those pound shop ‘all you need is an egg’ box of make-your-own cupcakes) and the kitchen looks like a nuclear wasteland.
Is there a balance? Every day my kid seems to age a year, she’s leaping through books and games at an astonishing rate, and it’s a joy to see her learn, and even more of a joy to teach her.
But I can’t spend all day reading Stick Man or building Lego houses. Actually I probably could with the Lego, but let’s call that the exception.
Stuff needs doing and I beat myself up over taking a shower while she watches telly. My legs look like hairy pork scratchings from lack of shaving. Dry shampoo is my new perfume.
Choosing between her and me is tough. Do I wash my hair OR does she get a bit of mum-time while we read a book before I dash away to work?
I reckon being a bit bored is ok for kids. Maybe it encourages them to be independent, and as my child has been particularly adhesive anyway, it’s good to see her cracking on with the Play-Doh without me.
Only having the one kid puts more pressure on the parent to be a playmate. There’s not always time to be a playmate, and the boundaries are different when she’s playing with other kids.
At least if there are two of them one can shout up the stairs and let you know the other one is unconscious under the Billy bookcase.
Meanwhile, I just really want to finish this level on my phone and have a crap, but there’s a child holding up a jigsaw box and making a sad face.
I’ll just shout instructions from the comfort of the toilet seat for now. Might write my next column from the lav too. Don’t be offended. It has become my happy place.
Daisy Leverington - Actor, mother, expert at winging it.