Once upon a time I used to dream that motherhood would be like 'The Sound Of Music'...minus the Nazi threat of course! Motherhood, with me as the leading lady, skipping through life, holding hands with a hoard of smiling, compliant children. A coordinated, home-sewn, harmonised vision of nurturing loveliness.
I soon found out that in the real world, any moments of harmony are always drowned out by the noise of the 'raggedy madness' of life with kids . No time in the year sums up this reality-check more than Christmas morning.
Christmas morning with its promises of perfection, beautifully wrapped.
Christmas morning with its desires to make dreams come true and elicit smiling faces with not a tantrum in sight.
Christmas morning with its off the scale, run you over with a steam-roller chaos that my kids
hit me with!
This year, past experience had made me more prepared for the onslaught. I was scared but determined to stay calm and see magic within madness.
All hope of simple-pleasures, undefiled by overwrought kids refusing to sing a seven-part harmony accompanied by a gently strumming guitar were abandoned at the door.
And as this year's madness began, I finally realised that motherhood may not have turned me into the Maria I'd envisaged, but then who the hell wants to sew clothes out of curtains anyway? I may have failed to keep completely calm, prepare a puppet show about goats or to teach my kids a musical alphabet whilst running through the streets but these days I really wouldn't have it any other way.
And so bring on the madness, bring it on I say....because within that madness, it sure wasn't too difficult to find some favourite things.
Like Poppy with her crazed screams at finally getting her very own DS, no more sharing Tilly's.
Or how about Tilly's rib-crushing hugs at her new wii dance game, hello kitty and garden gnomes.
Or try on for size Busby's delight at new Spiderman boots, alongside his leaping joy at a mummy and baby turtle, that had been a constant on his wish list! If that doesn't get you try little boy cuddles and love for his new cat toy.
Then add in Daddy's confusion at why I'd brought him a purple crow....no turn it up the other way, it's a rhino!!
Maria's story didn't have screaming kids, garden gnomes, purple rhino heads and children so delighted to give and receive presents, they were literally falling over each other. Do you know, this year I think I actually feel a little sorry for Maria!
It would seem I am finally happy to admit to myself that being a mum, a real mum that is, in a real world, does indeed present daily mountains to climb, but in a totally different way! It's a tough gig that probably no singing-nun in reality could achieve without a large glass of wine in one hand and a raised heart-rate. But I love this roller coaster journey of mine, up and down mountains, even if I'm not always singing in tune! Perhaps it's time to wave goodbye to the fantasy of calm-coordination?
I love the raggedy madness my kids create, now just to find them all again under the mountain of wrapping paper to tell them!