The battles of Mum

The word "mum" conjures all sorts of images, from taking care of babies to coping with teenage tantrums on a daily basis. One of the problems I find though is that people who don't have children tend to imagine being a mum is "easy".

Ha! If only. 

As a mum we get up in a morning, don our protective "mum" armour, and brave the day of battles ahead of us.

The Battles

Wake up!

If, like me, you're the mum of a tween, tween-in-training, or even a teen, you know what I'm talking about. That's right ladies and gentlemen it's the first battle of every day; the wake-up call. You begin by telling them it's time to rise and before you know it you're screaming at the top of your voice, threatening them with a bucket of ice-cold water.

BP is awful first thing in the morning. I wake him at 6:50am, it's enough time to get ready for school and be out of the door by 7:50am. We've had this routine for a whole school year now and he still can't get up on time. Our arguments range from teary cries to all-out nuclear war. He just cannot drag his bottom out of bed, even when he's had an early night!

LP is slightly different, although I can see the beginnings of the tween in him. At 7 years old he jumps out of bed (sometimes) with a smile and is ready for the day. But there are some days when he doesn't want to get up and on those days I have to contend with two of them in grumpy moods. 

Thou shalt eat

Whether it's battling with a baby/toddler to get them to eat their breakfast or complaints from the children because you don't have their favourite cereal, you're at 7am (roughly) and you're already on battle number 2. Cereal ends up on the floor, toast is burnt, and drinks are spilled, all in an attempt to get their own way. 

I've had arguments about the wrong cereal, the wrong bread (BP hates brown bread), I've even had to argue about not having chocolate spread on toast! Like most children my boys love pancakes (think american) for breakfast but as they're usually covered in maple syrup I don't let them have pancakes very often, and this of course leads to complaints. 

You're wearing what?!

The usual battle is getting them dressed in the first place but you can also end up fighting about the state of trousers (or skirt), or that they put on the wrong clothes. Telling them to get changed (again) drops like an atom bomb and you hear huffs as they stomp their way back up the stairs.

If I had a penny every of time I've had to tell BP to get changed I'd be a millionaire. He's dressed in creased shirts, muddy trousers, and even attempted to go to school in trainers, and every time I have to tell him to get changed. This is, of course, my fault - if I hadn't told him to get changed then he'd have happily gone to school in those dirty clothes.

LP is not much different when it comes to getting dressed. He hates having to get changed and when I point out that the trousers are dirty or that he needs clean socks on he will shout "it's not fair!" and storm up the stairs to change. He's taking cues from his older brother!

Climbing Everest

Once the children are at school you'd think there were no battles until they arrived home but alas that's not the case. From the moment they leave the house battles of another kind begin. The first one to tackle is the washing mountain that has taken on Everest proportions even though the washing machine is on constantly. 

My washing mountain is something I fight with all the time. I have tried ignoring it which results in its growth, I've tried attacking it 4-5 times daily but the socks seem to multiply and attack me right back. The washing mountain is the bane of every mum's life.


No matter how many times you dust the window sills or the shelves they always end up dusty again a few days later. Leave it more than a week and the sides look like they've been left for years as the flies get caught in the growing cobwebs. 

I love looking at my window sills and shelves just after they've been dusted, they look so lovely. On occasion I've taken photos just to remember what they look like clean because in no time they'll look dirty again. Dust drives me mad, I hate the stuff. 

The Singles Attack

If you tackle the washing mountain you get attacked by socks and once those socks are clean they have to be paired again. With a basket full of unpaired socks you take over the lounge floor as you lay out each sock and try to put the pairs back together.

My basket of unpaired socks contains socks that have been 'single' forever and yet I still keep them. Why?! Pairing socks is one of those jobs I both love and hate, I like being able to pair the socks and put them away but when I'm left with more single socks than paired ones I feel like I'm wasting my time. And how is it the socks never come out of the washing machine in pairs when you put them in together? I swear the washing machine eats them!

Fighting the Inner Voice 

You get the washing mountain to less than Everest proportions, you've dusted the sides, and you've paired the socks. Now it's time for a coffee, a hot coffee. Yet you still have a battle on your hands, but this one is more internal. It's that nagging voice telling you you shouldn't be sitting to have a coffee, you should be mopping the kitchen floor or changing the bedding. Allowing yourself a minute to enjoy the peace while the children are at school results in a battle with yourself. Grr.

I'm not sure this one will ever be won. I feel guilty for having a minute to myself, even though I've spent the morning on my feet running around the house cleaning. I think about all the things I ought to be doing while the kettle boils. I plan my next job while I make the coffee. I wonder what jobs I'll do tomorrow while I drink my coffee. The guilt never goes away and even when you know you're entitled to a break you feel guilty for doing it.

The return of the little people

The children arrive home after school and what's the first thing they ask?

"What's for dinner?"

If you don't give the response they're looking for they bombard you with other suggestions that result in you feeling like you're wasting your time. Not only that but they then ask for snacks and sweets because they're "hungry". If you tell them no you're the worst mum in the world.

LP has started asking me about dinner on the way home from school and he even tries negotiating with me about snacks. He'll say things like "if you let me have some crisps I'll be good", needless to say this doesn't work. I am EVIL mum after all!

iPad Wars

You don't want your children to spend all evening on the consoles or tablets but you do want to let them have some down time. You set specific limits and expect them to be obeyed but as the limit is reached the negotiations and the "just one more minute" start.

Living in a "gaming" house this is the hardest thing to tackle. The Hubby spends most of his time looking at games for work and it's hard to explain to the boys that he is working. All they see is their dad playing games. I've had to deal with "just one more minute" and the throwing of console controllers as they have a temper tantrum.

The Hubby may work in the gaming industry but that doesn't mean the boys have to spend every spare second playing games. 

The Battle of Bedtime

After a tough day you're ready to get the children into bed so you can sit down and relax. The children however, have something different in mind. More negotiations, more temper tantrums, and more stress. 

BP goes to bed at 9pm and to him this is far too early for a 12 year old. Given that he can't drag himself out of bed in a morning I disagree and this is the cause of a few arguments. I've told him that as soon as he can get out of bed without being in a grumpy mood then he can go to bed later. It is yet to happen. 

LP is in an awkward stage - he's not tired at bedtime and likes to read, but he needs his sleep. LP loves playing football and being active which means he needs lots of energy. He goes to bed at 7:30pm but often ends up reading until past 8:30pm which means he ends up tired in a morning. I cannot stop him from reading (nor would I want to) so for the foreseeable future his bedtime will stay at 7:30pm.

The Guilt Trip

Whether you're at home all day, get to spend time with your children whenever you want, and don't have to go out to work OR you're at work all day, you get to talk to other adults and socialise, and you get to be you for at least half the day.


That's the message every woman gets from all angles. It SUCKS. The women who work all day feel guilty for working or not being able to be home for their children, and the women who stay-at-home feel guilty for not being the breadwinner

I have been a stay-at-home mum for more than 12 years, I have never been a working mum. I do however, understand that being a working mum is a tough job and you still have to do all the housework after coming home from work. None of us should feel guilty for our choices.

Finally, when the children are in bed and the chores are done you can relax. Tomorrow the battles start again.

What battles do you fight during your day?

Diary of an imperfect mum

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