I have been wading my way through this motherhood malarkey for the last 14 years now and I thought I had pretty much seen it all. The tears and tantrums, the snot and nits, the poop and sleepless nights. I've been there and got the T-shirt! And glamorous it 'aint.
I like to think that I take it all in my stride and do what needs to be done. It’s what we do every day isn’t it us mums?
However last night I have to say that for the first time ever, I had to psych myself up to deal with what came my way on the ‘being a mum with poorly kids night shift’.
You see you never quite know how these nights with poorly kids will go do you....
It almost certainly always involves a hot sweaty child creeping into your bed and nicking all your duvet covers, while you painfully watch the minutes tick by on the alarm clock fighting to drift back off to sleep. Whilst clinging onto the edge of the bed huffing and puffing as you get more and more irate about how your hubby snores through the whole bloody thing.
And most of the time these nights also involve some kind of bodily fluid being dramatically expelled from your poorly little person. That’s pretty much a certainty really isn’t it…whether it’s a wet bed, snot, a nose bleed or the old favourite vomit at 3am…it never ends well, and is always guaranteed to be messy!
And occasionally it will involve creeping downstairs in your nightie to get the Calpol from the kitchen cupboard in the dark, trying not to wake the rest of the house up. Only to swear in pain when you stand on the remote control that one of your little darlings has left on the living room floor.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I should have seen the signs coming thick and fast yesterday telling me that I was in for a rough night. But to be honest my son is very rarely the one that ever gets ill in our house, so I was totally unprepared for what was heading my way!
You see my poor little man had been complaining of having a headache for most of the afternoon, and his youngest sister has been off school all week with tonsillitis. The clues were there that I was in for a long night weren’t they! But silly old me didn’t see it coming.
Stupidly I went to bed after having a couple of glasses of sloe gin (it was Saturday night after all). I had popped my head around his bedroom door before I went to bed myself, and all was quiet. He was fast asleep. So naively I assumed that all would be well until the next day. Think it might have been the gin that relaxed me that little bit too much!
As I was awoken at some ungodly hour by a feeble “MUM, MUM” coming from his room. I dashed out of bed and ran in, turned the light on and I froze. I actually froze on the spot.
Let me set the scene… my little man sleeps in a high metal framed cabin bed. He has his gaming chair and PlayStation all set up at the desk underneath, as well as his turtle table where his pet 'Teddy Tortoise' happily resides. He sleeps above all this on his cabin bed and has ladders to get up and down - as it’s pretty high!
Now my poorly little man must have woken up and needed to be sick. So of course he had leaned his head over the side of his bed and well, all hell had broken loose let me tell you! It must have been vomit of the ‘projectile variety’ I can only assume. And as it had been evacuated from such dizzying heights (there’s no polite way to put this) it had splattered onto every surface, crevice, nook and cranny in his entire room. Headphones, turtle table, gaming chair, chest of drawers, walls and carpet, the lot!
It was 'vomit Armageddon'.
His poor pale little face sadly looked down over the sides of his bed at me, and I am ashamed to admit that I was frozen to the spot. My sleepy senses were bombarded with smells and sights no mother wants to see after a few too many gins! But in my defence this was enough to test the stomach of the sturdiest mum in the middle of the night, gin or no gin, trust me.
“My poor baby” I spluttered out eventually.
“Sorry mum” he sobbed.
My heart melted and I felt awful.
“Are you going to be sick again?” I asked.
“I don’t understand, how do I know?” he said.
It slowly dawned on me that his experience of feeling sick and knowing that he needed to go the bathroom was something that he may not be able to plan when he felt so ill, or even recognise like we do. He couldn't help it poor kid.
It was time for me to man up and face the battlefield of vomit that lay ahead (and above, and on the sides and in-between my toes).
So I counted to 10, grabbed as many cleaning implements as I could lay my hands on and did what every mum does…got stuck in with the clean-up mission, whilst holding my breath for as long as I could and trying not to slip over in the fallout!
An hour later, I left my little man sleeping peacefully whilst clinging to the biggest bowl I had been able to dig out from my baking cupboard. And stinking of bleach and beyond exhausted I then slowly crept back into bed while my husband heaved back over to his side of the bed with a grunt.
Scrubbed and clean I lay there listening to the hubby snoring and the birds singing outside. All was quiet again… like nothing had ever happened. I had done it. My little man needed my help despite my little wobble I had done it.
Because no matter how messy things get, I am his mum and I will always be there for my kids no matter what time of day or night, no matter what the issue, and no matter how much mess there is that needs cleaning up.
More than that I am my sons’ safe place. I am the fixer, and the one who makes it all better.
I am the cleaner of the vomit!
I may feel overwhelmed at the task ahead sometimes, but after a few deep breaths us mums can tackle anything that’s thrown at us can’t we!
We may have more wrinkles, grey hair and dark circles around the eyes than we used to, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. And I bet you wouldn’t either! Because my kids are worth every sleepless night and every midnight scramble for the disinfectant.
So bring it on I say!
The joy of motherhood is the unconditional love and the devotion that I feel for my children, which is enough to drive me on to clean any amount of bodily fluid at 3 in the morning I can tell you.
So ‘vomit Armageddon’ I laugh in your face and say “come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough!” This momma can take you on and more, any day of the week! (Well maybe a night off tonight would be great if you could be so kind).
Mrs M x