The hubs and I are off to dinner on a Saturday night. We wave goodbye to the kids, make sure the babysitter has ample provisions, and head out the door. Before we get in the car I tap the hubs on the arm. “Hey,” I say. “You should probably go pee-pee before we get in the car. We’ve got a long drive.”
He looks at me, incredulous. “Did you just tell me to go pee-pee?” he says half laughing. “How old do you think I am?” he says and jumps in the car.
For the duration of the aforementioned long drive, I think about what just happened. Horrified, I realise I’ve gone down the Mum-Rabbit Hole where I can no longer define reality from being a mum. My husband is a grown man. He’s been toilet trained for well over 30 years and I just suggested he go the toilet. Worse yet, I used the term “pee-pee.” My God, I think. What’s happened to me?
What’s happened to me is I’ve become a MUM. I spend a good portion of my day repeating myself over and over again hoping to be heard. I spend a lot of time suggesting toilet breaks, asking who needs snacks, and carrying everything from underwear to drink bottles in my handbag. I word things so my toddler can understand them and I cut meat so my 6-year-old can manage it. But clearly, the lines are blurry. I can no longer differentiate between my husband, who has full bladder control, from my three-year-old who only needs to pee as soon as she’s in the car.
Truth be told, if I saw another grown woman telling her grown husband to go pee-pee, I’d think they either had a very strange relationship or she’d forgotten she wasn’t with her kids. I’d roll my eyes and think, “Really. Did she just say that?” Now I’m saying that about myself.
There’s a lot of things we need to say and do as mums that we shouldn’t say and do when our kids aren’t present. Asking our husbands to go pee-pee isn’t the only thing we shouldn’t do without our kids. Here’s more.
1. Listen to the kids’ music. If you’re like me and you’ve caught yourself listening to The Wiggles when no kids were in your car, you know it’s a sobering moment. Change the music fast, before someone realises you know the entire Frozen soundtrack by heart.
2. Cut up your partner’s food. You have to cut your kid’s meat. You don’t have to do it for your husband. So put down that steak knife. It makes you look overbearing!
3. Use plastic cups. Having a double date night in? Your friends (and husband) may spill as often as your kids, but that’s because they’re clumsy. Break out the china. You haven’t used it since you got married!
4. Sing. Singing is an unfortunate torture that comes with being a mum. For some reason, some parenting guru made it standard practice for a bunch of off-pitch sopranos, to sit in a circle and sing “Wheels on the Bus.” But when your kids aren’t around, you don’t have to sing. And let’s face it, you shouldn’t.
5. Speak in the third person. When my husband speaks to our kids, he always speaks in the third person. He sounds a little crazy, like he’s talking about someone else. Unless your kids suffered from amnesia, you probably don’t have to keep reminding them of who you are by speaking in the third person. You’re their mum. They know who you are.
6. Use the word snack. No one over 10 really ever needs to use the word “snack,” nor do they need to eat them. Kids eat a zillion times a day. Grown-ups don’t. Or shouldn’t.
7. Speak in a sing-songy voice. Mums and the staff at your kids’ daycare feel the need to speak to kids in a sing-songy voice. But when no kids are around, go ahead and talk like a normal person.
8. Walk around with food in your hair or clothing. For the first year of my daughter’s life, I always had her and her spit up on my shoulder. All was forgiven. But when I started walking around in food-stained clothing when my daughter wasn’t around, it became clear that I needed to take off my (no doubt stained) mum hat and remember I’m not just a mum.
9. Watch cartoons. Sure, technically Finding Dory is a cartoon and totally acceptable grown-up viewing. But overall, cartoons are meant for kids. If you find yourself watching them and your kids aren’t around, it might be time to change the channel. There are other shows with real people on them. You know that, right?