THE BLOG

One Bad Mother

23/10/2015 17:35 BST | Updated 23/10/2016 10:12 BST

I wouldn't say I'm a terrible mother. I mean, I am, but I'd probably try to use a word that was less bad than that. Early on in motherhood I realised that having children is like someone taking your children hostage, because if you don't do the right thing, they might die. Constant pressure. Unending stress.

I remember my father musing that the Iraq war could've ended at least two years early if instead if they'd dropped babies instead of bombs on Baghdad. 'One baby could bring an army to its knees with sleep deprivation and near-constant audio assault,' he said, the horror of the memory etched in his face. 'Although, now I think of it, I'm pretty sure babies are against the Geneva Convention.'

I don't wish I hadn't had children, I just wish I didn't know about all the things I can't have because of them. My single friends say things like, 'Guess what I did last weekend!' and I feel entirely justified in replying, 'NO. PISS OFF. GUESS WHAT I DID LAST WEEKEND. I CLEANED NUTELLA OFF THE CEILING. AGAIN.' I am glad I had my children young, though, because this way there's a chance that I might outlive their occupancy of my house.

Once I felt too exhausted to cook tea, so I looked in the freezer. Ended up giving them Magnums. With Magnums for afters. (The good thing about writing comedy is everyone thinks it's not true.)

The part of motherhood that I'm most resentful of is having to attend award ceremonies and school plays. Award ceremonies are basically an hour of your life during which you watch other people's children get certificates for 59 minutes and 45 seconds and then spend 15 seconds watching your own child accept piece of card celebrating a dubious achievement (the Lunchtime Achievement Award? Really? I achieve lunchtime EVERY DAY) and then they blink at the exact moment of the only photo opportunity.

School plays are a level of Hell that would make Dante feel that shit just got real. A succession of children dressed in sheets, tea towels and curtains somebody has been meaning to get rid of, traipse on stage and bellow something about Mary being heavy with child at the audience, using Walken-esque punctuation. My own children are from the Mumble Inaudibly and Get the Fuck Off the Stage As Soon As Possible school of acting. Now, I am proud of my children no matter what they do, but by that rationale, they really don't need to participate in this. I will be just as proud of them if they don't do it. And considerably more grateful.

However, there have been two school plays, both nativities, that I thoroughly enjoyed. At the first, one of the angels sneeze-started a spectacular nosebleed, turning the story of the birth of Christ into what looked like a Tarantino remake. As the other children stared at her, I was willing her to shout, like Mr. Pink, 'Fuck you! I didn't create this situation.' As with any nosebleed, there were conflicting opinions on whether head back or head forward was best, but in this instance, those opinions were mimed by teachers on opposite sides of the room. As the child looked from one to the other, a blood moustache formed on her face and, somewhat distracted by this, one king said to another, 'Give him the bloody present.'

I thought that couldn't be topped, but the very next year it was and with aplomb. This year, all of the animals had 3D masks in the style of welder's masks, covering the head and most of the face, protruding at the front. They were quite good, actually, if you aren't fussy about the number and symmetry of the ears and eyes on your quadrupeds. Anyway, Mary and Joseph had just arrived at the stable when the donkey vomited at high velocity and centre stage. If you gathered together all of the vomit I have ever seen in my life, it would still be a smaller quantity than that which exited this donkey's face. But the fun didn't end there because, with the donkey still vomiting, the gift-bearers started advancing and so one heroic teacher leapt to her feet and, arms out, feet astride, guarded the sick. Behind her, the donkey continued to wretch, sounding like a chain smoking Eeyore.

By the end of it, I had cried my mascara down the full length of my face, not because I was so moved by the nativity (seen it before) or because I saw my little darlings on stage (didn't even notice them) but because I have a sense of humour darker than Beelzebub's bumhole.

And because, fuck it, I'm a terrible mother.