I’ve wondered, since becoming a parent, how it can be illegal to drive whilst under the influence of alcohol, but not whilst you have umpteen tiny militants of your own making ensconced in the back seats.
When my eldest daughter was born, I spent the first two months in a state of sleep deprivation that has left me with some memories that are simply a boggled haze. However, one thing that I do remember is driving whilst feeling physically sick with exhaustion, and wondering how on earth it was sensible for me to be in control of anything – let alone a vehicle.
Then came the stage where I thought that if I had to twist my body one more time into a shape that was comfortable enough to lug about a car seat filled with chubby infant, my spine would snap. Either that, or I’d be left with a permanent hump on one shoulder, dragging my left foot behind me, looking like Quasimodo Does Parenthood.
After this stage had passed, I entered the next event: Toddler Spaghetti Limbs. This involved attempts to simultaneously contain and restrain a writhing toddler long enough to strap them into a car seat. No pressure there, then.
I would break out in a sweat (yet recall thinking, in my deluded state, that at least it would shift some baby-weight), and the toddler in question would go utterly limp. I would puff and pant, my backside hanging out of the car, sweat trickling down my pants, heaving the infant into the seat, praying all the while that my husband would beg to become a house husband, leaving me to return to the relative sanity of the workplace.
This stage was followed by Child Asks 3 Million Questions, which then progressed to the stage I now find myself at. Namely, Child Warfare.
I am not a naïve individual, but I do confess that before pregnancy, I imagined my offspring and I sharing happy journeys, singing Ten Green Bottles, and smiling at each other in the rearview.
Never did I dream that I would be driving like Nigel Mansell (minus facial hair, please God), in a car filled with bossy, irate, gremlins. Sometimes I literally throw food at them over my shoulder in order to distract them, and at others I fantasise about clubbing to death the person who wrote and recorded Let It Go.
Suffice to say, I drive my children everywhere… and they drive me mad.
First published in The Portsmouth News, 14th July 2015