Not just carrying it. Swinging it beside me. Swinging it with carefree abandon.
Aforementioned small swinging handbag contains my wallet, lipgloss, phone, a pair of many times lost and miraculously found again cheap imitation sunglasses, about 17 old woolworths receipts, a screwed up shopping list and a movie ticket from 2012.
It does not contain nappies.
No small Tupperware container filled with sliced strawberries.
No tiny change of clothes or plastic bag for soiled nappy disposal.
Those things wouldn’t even FIT in this handbag. Frankly I’m lucky it manages to zip up around my oversized purse (thanks for nothing Mimco. Just kidding, I love you. Please send me a free purse. Kthnxbye). It’s what I lovingly refer to as my pre-children sized handbag.
But today I’ve dusted it off and slung it over my shoulder, because this morning I’m on my own! My kids are being looked after by a generous (unwitting) family member (glutton for punishment) and I have a free pass to do as I please for a few hours.
This doesn’t happen often. I’m a stay at home mum to three children under three and a half, so I’m pretty excited, I’m not gonna lie.
First stop: local coffee shop
Sit and order coffee. Drink from actual mug, as opposed to drinking the luke warm remains from a take away cup, half spilled on my pants in the playground.
Engage in chatty banter with barista whilst not needing to try to pry my three year old’s fingers away from the Belgian chocolate drops that sit on the counter, whilst simultaneously requesting that my other three year old please refrain from loudly rearranging the bar stools.
Don’t have to do those things. On my own..wheeeeeee.
Masquerade as a carefree beatnik hipster by creating a flat lay on the table of a magazine, my mug of coffee and the muffin I’m about to eat without having to share it with anyone. Tabletop and subsequent #hipsterlife photo of tabletop both happen to not contain emptied out sugar sachets and sugar granules everywhere, because… On my own!
Post picture to Instagram feeling momentarily young and chic and hip.
Proceed to drink coffee in leisurely fashion while enjoying general vibe of silence and serenity.
No babycino in sight. No babycino spilled on my lap. No babycino remnants smeared across the tabletop. No apology required for babycino ceramic mini mug smashed on the floor. No babycino.
Next stop: Target
Wander around the store enjoying the liberating freedom of sashaying through narrow aisles and past unfortunately placed sunglasses display cabinets without needing to move items at will because of cumbersome nature of pram manoeuvrability (or lackthereof). Because.. No pram!
Just independent free thinking me, doing as I please!
Effortlessly tune out the sound of someone else’s child throwing a tantrum. Not my child! Wheeeeee!
Ladies clothes, homewares, cosmetics… Hmmmmm
That little tshirt is cute… Maybe I might just pop over to baby wear…
Oooooooh my littlest does need a few new jumpsuits and that one with the deer on it is ADORABLE…so maybe I’ll just grab that and a couple of onesies and since I’m over this side, well, I think I saw the Duplo was on special in the catalogue this week, so I should probably just check.
End up at checkout with a (highly coveted) Duplo fire station set, a tiny pair of pink sneakers, three onesies and a colouring in book.
But, I mean, the Duplo, is practically a gift for myself… So…
Fruitlessly browse in a few more shops, check phone for messages just in case something has happened and I’m needed home.
Great! More time to wander around the shopping centre not saying phrases like “hunny don’t touch that please”, “darling can you please pick that up”, “no sweetie these things don’t belong to us” or “alright well you’ll just have to hold it while I pay and then we’ll go and find a toilet”.
Asked if I’ve got a busy day ahead by well meaning shop assistant by way of customer service and casually drop into conversation that I have three children at home.
Because I’m not just a single, carefree woman in my early thirties doing as I please. I’m a mum! With three kids! At home! And I’m out! Shopping! Yay me!
Run into another parent friend. Exchange a few sleep stories and general ear infection banter awash with empathy for one anothers mutual exhaustion. Vow to have an adult catch up soon; briefly wonder if either of us will be free on the same day at the same time before my youngest graduates high school.
Stop for another small coffee, because coffee is the elixir of life and I can count on one hand the hours of sleep I had last night.
Whilst languishing in the vaguely familiar sensation of being in a seated position, amuse myself by scrolling through my iphone camera roll, loaded with fascinating picture after fascinating picture of the kids doing wildly interesting things like sitting in a washing basket, or wearing a bucket as a hat.
Smile to myself over how sweet and adorably adorable they are. Motherhood is so breezily delightful from the safe vicinity of nowhere near your actual children.
Make a quick call to my husband to say hello and regail him with some of the early morning funny kid related anecdotes.
Experience strange feeling akin to missing the kids…?
I’ve only been gone for a few hours and you can’t miss your kids after only a few hours.
That’s just embarrassing.
Am politely called “ma’am” in the supermarket by the 20 year old deli service counter attendant.
Feel sorry for myself.
I, too, used to be young, blithely insouciant and a dab hand with the chorizo.
Realise I only have fifteen minutes until I need to head home and harbour fleeting regrets over squandering my time out with multiple not-drinking-wine related activities.
Feel sorry for myself.
Vanquish ensuing indulgent self pity by driving home singing loudly and spectacularly to music that isn’t Do the Propellor that I don’t even know the actual words to…because it’s not Do the Propellor. Entertain the fantastical notion of auditioning for the next season of The Voice, ignoring the insignificant detail of not actually being able to sing. Might have more luck auditioning for Playschool instead.
Arrive home to familiar enthusiastic mayhem and the fine tipped texta line between happiness and hysteria. Disputes are underway over which red crayon (that looks exactly like 147 other red crayons we own) belongs to who. Orders are being made for what they’d like to have for lunch (or more accurately what they wouldn’t like; anything I’ve got). The baby has unleashed the fury of a thousand Vikings in her nappy.
Mum life can go from calm to conniption in the blink of an I-dont-want-to-go-to-bed-now-mummy, but as much as I love the deafening silence of my own thoughts every now and then, I kind of love the sound of my children’s voices even more (except if it’s after 7pm, in which case, no). And besides which, when you are the proud owner of a toddler (or two), silence is not so much golden as it is very, very, very suspicious.
Me-time is great, and as a parent it’s found in the most unexpected places out of sheer necessity and/or desperation. The solo supermarket expedition. The gynocologists chair (God help me). The momentous and highly celebrated occasion of going to the toilet with the door closed. Anywhere and everywhere that there’s no tiny human telling you that they’re hungry forty seven seconds after you’ve managed to finish washing the dishes, or that they need to poo just after you’ve spent 6 and a half minutes strapping them into their car seat.
Me-time is a very very welcome and, frankly, rare commodity.
But you know what, mummy time isn’t half bad either.
In the interests of full disclosure I feel it is my duty to divulge the fact that I have not, in fact, had a child free Tuesday morning (or any other morning for that matter) in as long as I can remember. However… If I had, then I’m pretty certain based on pre existing precedents that this is how it would have gone.
If anyone would like to volunteer to look after my children for me while I wander around Target buying them things, drinking coffee whilst looking at pictures of them on my phone and talking about them to strangers, then I’m open to considering expressions of interest from qualified parties 😂