It is amazing how many seemingly unimportant and almost instinctual things go into running a smooth household. Not that the running of my household goes smoothly, it would if I put all the seemingly unimportant things into constant practise.
With my departure for the tropics, just on a week away I have been obsessing over making sure the Mauritian knows how things are done and most importantly how the girls like it done. Not that they get their way of course but there are some concessions made occasionally.
Silly things like where I store the dishwasher powder, or which draw the Butterfly’s socks are kept in the Mauritian has absolutely no idea about these things. I know, the girls know but the Mauritian is clueless. It’s funny only because they are such minor things that everyone thinks everyone should know. But it makes perfect sense; he has no clue because he never loads the dishwasher or folds the Butterfly’s socks. I did have a good giggle though when he asked me to show him how to work the washing machine again so he could write it down. Not that I am knocking him wanting to write it down, that way at least, he’ll not forget again or if he does he has something to reference. I of course have been writing everything down from the Butterfly’s after school activities to a Lollipop’s favourite television programs. I have made a daily timetable for him so he knows when to do what and will never be late or rushed. I have written instructions on how the Butterfly’s star chart works on the back of the chart. This amused the Butterfly immensely she laughed and said “Muuum! I can tell Papa how I earn stars!” Oh yeah, I’m sure you will my child! I have colour coded the calendar in the kitchen so he knows at a glance which days the rubbish or garden refuse is collected or when the insurances are debited to our accounts. Then there are the “just in case” instructions, who to call, where the important documents can be found and of course the doctor’s names and phone numbers. Then there are the “what to do” instruction for the stuff that may happen while I’m away, like Lollipop starting “Kindy”, the extra dancing lessons or dance recitals and dentist appointments. Don’t forget the everyday reminders to check the post box, hang up washing to dry, pack lunches for the girls or check emails. It’s a lot to remember, I’m having a hard time remembering what it is I need to write down for him so he doesn’t forget anything. Then there is the weekly shopping lists so he knows what to get and what brands are the cheaper or tastier, which vegetable shops or butchers I go to and when. I’ve gone as far as to pack the girl’s closets and drawers in a way that all items of clothing that go together are together. I have made biscuit dough and frozen it already cut into shapes and left instructions on how to bake them, bought the girl’s favourite cereal so there won’t be any arguing about what to have for breakfast in the mornings and let’s not forget the fudge and coconut ice made so there are treats for the girl’s on the weekends.
This week we have started doing “practise” runs. The Mauritian has been sitting with the Butterfly and doing her homework, getting them in and out the bath and doing the entire bedtime routine. The girl’s have responded well to the change and have been running rings around the Mauritian and having a grand old time. I have tried not to interfere but it is extremely hard not to, after all this is my domain. I have also tried not to smile knowingly when the Mauritian collapses on the sofa exhausted from the effort of getting the girls sorted for the night, that’s even harder to do. I did eventually take over the first night, the second night he told me to stop laughing and last night he told me he needed a break. Tonight he goes grocery shopping with both girls, I’m trying to decide if I should go with and lent a hand in need or stay at home and leave him to work it out alone. This weekend however he’s on his own, I have things I want to do to prepare for my trip I shall be putting a “do not disturb” sign around my neck. I’m even going to make him iron his own work pants!
I know I know I’m being obsessive and most of what I’m doing is pure over kill, but be nice. I have never been away from of my children or left them with their father for more than two nights, and then I was not that far away. This time around, I am away from home for a grand total of eighteen days and will be un- contactable when you consider the time difference. I don’t run a tight ship but it has yet to sink and I find myself hoping the Mauritian doesn’t drown. Now don’t get me wrong: I do not doubt the Mauritian’s ability to cope. He is very self-sufficient and an excellent father he will get what needs to be done, done. He just won’t do it my way! I know this and still I “worry.” My main concern is that he will be rushing in the morning and forget to do certain things, I would hate for the Butterfly to miss out on something at school because something went wrong at home. I also wonder if the girl’s will get to bed on time, the Mauritian is terrible at bed times and no matter how many times I yell at him not to rev the girl’s up just before or at bedtime he never listens. Unfortunately, both girls know exactly what to say or do to get the Mauritian started and they never ever fail.
Not so long ago the Mauritian jokingly- I hope- said he would feed the girls a glass of whiskey so they’ll sleep well at night. My response was that I won’t be here so I won’t know therefore it doesn’t matter because it’ll be his problem. “Exactly!” replied the Mauritian. I know all of this and yet I continue to obsess. Perhaps I should just resign myself to the fact that the Butterfly is going to be late for school, miss a few cricket matches, practises or dance lessons. Perhaps I need to accept that they will go to bed far too late and wear mismatched or dirty clothes now and then. Maybe I need to understand that it doesn’t matter if the girl’s lunches are made the night before or the next morning or if they bath after supper instead of before. I know they won’t go hungry because he will feed them far too much. I know they won’t get cold because he’ll dress them too warm or put far too many blankets on their beds. I know they’ll never come to any harm because the Mauritian is far too over protective. I know they won’t for a moment feel neglected or forgotten because the Mauritian is more than capable and lots of fun. I know he won’t do anything the way I do it because he is not me and nobody can do it like mum does it so he won’t even try! I know all of this yet I continue to make lists, write instruction and colour code calendars! Then every time I show the Mauritian what I’ve done, where I’ve put it and why he smiles, nods his heads says thanks and claims that’ll make things easy for him then changes the subject.
I know that while I wrestle with all these concerns, try to ensure that everything runs smoothly or predict any issues and how to solve them the Mauritian struggles with the intense problem of how to fit his gym workout into the day and what to do with the kids.
In the end, whatever happens will happen it will be up to the three of them to deal with it. I really do need to stop obsessing and just look forward to spending some quality time with my parents, siblings, nieces, nephews and the myriad of other relations gathered at the upcoming celebrations.