I had so many plans. I was going to write a movie script. I was going to organise all our digital photos into albums. I was going to join the gym and work-out every morning after school drop-off. All I’ve done is tidy up the frigging house. Over and over and OVER again. I wake up each morning to Groundhog Day. Clothes, toys, homework, dishes strewn all over the kitchen, dining, family room. Husband’s work clothes strewn all over the study, living room, hallway. Toys and craft materials strewn all over the playroom. Clean clothes piled on the floor beside the wardrobe. Dirty clothes piled on the floor in the bathroom (beside the dirty clothes basket, never in it). Husband’s dirty socks balled at the bottom of the bedclothes. I thought there would be less mess when I became a stay-at-home mum. But there’s more. There’s crap EVERYWHERE. Being around more creates exponentially more chaos. Yes, I know, if I put things away as I went, I probably wouldn’t be in this situation. But it just doesn’t come naturally. I’m probably rebelling against my parents (still), who are the ultimate clean freaks. Age has only made them more fastidious. I go to visit and there’s a little sponge thingy hanging in the shower recess to wipe the tiles as soon as you turn off the taps (preferably before drying yourself, quite miserable in winter). Mess is always removed IMMEDIATELY in the kitchen. It’s imperative that all bench tops are cleared and all items replaced in the pantry/fridge BEFORE sitting down to eat. Imperative? Well, no-one actually SAYS it’s imperative, I just KNOW. Probably some deep psychological fear of being grounded for a week (pretty sad in a 43-year-old). In my house, however, the scraps under the table after dinner could feed a family dog for a week. The mess in the playroom … sorry, there are no words (that’s why I’ve supplied a picture). Yes, I should be making the Sprogs help tidy up. I just don’t trust them to do it properly and without a fuss. I want all the Lego in the Lego box, all the dolls in the doll basket, all the games stacked together, all the sporty stuff in the sporty stuff container … not everything just jammed into any basket, box or shelf they can hurriedly find. My psychologist reckons this is where I’ve got it wrong. She says I’m not doing the Sprogs any favours, letting them be tornadoes of havoc. It means they will spend their adult lives shirking responsibility. She says a lot of things that really annoy me (probably because they’re true). And I don’t care how much I’m paying her by the hour (also not sacrificed under the new, constrained budget). Or how guilty she’ll make me feel when she weasles my lack of “teaching responsibility” progress out of me (funny how she just stares at me and doesn’t say anything and I start blathering. Do they teach that at university?). I’m just not strong enough to withstand the whingeing (mine silently because they haven’t done it right, theirs noisily because they’ve had to do it). Maybe next week. I always find Monday is a much better day to start things afresh. It just doesn’t feel right to tackle the big stuff like poor parenting techniques/new diets/world peace mid-week.
TONIGHT’S MENU: Husband fancies maafe, an African peanut stew. I don’t have high hopes for the Sprogs eating it (“corn?!”, “peanut butter?!”, “sweet potato?!”, “ewww, yuck!”) so I’ve got some Latina ravioli on standby for them.
MAAFE RECIPE: Surprisingly, maafe wasn’t rejected by the Sprogs, so I’ve included the recipe. Their cousins even like it in wraps for lunch at school.
Ingredients: Peanut oil, 3 medium onions (diced), 800g diced chicken, 400g can diced tomatoes, 2 tbsps tomato paste, 750ml boiling water, 1/2-3/4 cup smooth peanut butter (depending on how decadent you want to be about your cholesterol levels), 1 sweet potato (diced), 1 cup of frozen corn kernels, 4 carrots cut into chunks, couple of handfuls of spinach (if your sprogs eat green stuff), pinch of cinnamon, pinch of paprika.
Method: Heat oil in heavy-based pot, saute onions until soft. Add chicken and stir-fry until sealed. Stir in can of tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix peanut butter with boiling water to make a smooth paste. Add to pot. Toss carrots into pot. Sprinkle stew with spices. Stir. Simmer until carrots are cooked. Add corn and spinach, cook for 5 minutes. Serve with rice or cous cous. (n.b. if you like a bit of spice, fry some fresh chilli with the onions.)