Introducing Sally, AKA Mrs Nursery, and mum of four lively boys aged eight months, three, seven and nine.
In many peopleâ€™s eyes, sheâ€™s far too young to have four kids.
â€œIn the words of my sonâ€™s teacher â€˜No Dominic, your mummy canâ€™t be 27, as you are nine!â€™â€
Her life is fairly hectic, and she is partial to late-night cleaning, believing she does her best work at 2am.
â€œ I wouldn’t say I am a yo-yo dieter – more week on week off. I havenâ€™t had the â€˜moderation is the keyâ€™ eureka moment but am sure any day now I will develop an intolerance to junk and chocolate and only feel whole after strenuous exercise. I know it’s coming I can feel it!â€
Big thanks to her for stepping in with a guest blog – and sharing this hilarious tale of one of life’s most horrific experiences – an unannounced visit from distant relatives.
I made the decision last year to move from one of the most vibrant cities in the country to an area that is not even labelled on a map and looks like somewhere that only has a saloon, a sheriff’s office and the odd tumbleweed passing through.
I blame rightmove as their photography was amazing and they made the house look great. They just failed to mention there are no pavements or local amenities!
What are the odds, since my relocation to rural isolation, that tonightÂ the most irritating of distant relatives would “stop in for a brew” on a 40-mile round trip detour?
AsÂ I attempt to drop numerousÂ hints that itâ€™s bedtime for the children and the baby’s been poorly, still no budging.
My exaggerated yawn does nothing as steam builds up and in slow motion I see her take her shoes off.
“That’s it. She thinks she’s kipping here.”
I have two options:
1. Plod along and hope there gonna head off soon, “surely no one is that thick that they wouldn’t get the hint?
2. Revert back to myÂ Manchester roots and kick them both out?
IÂ make small talk and repeat myself for the 10th time as she again asks “What is it you do again, are you a nurse or a doctor?”
“Neither” I tell her “I am a nursery consultant”.
I then attempt to explain how I help parents in their search for great childcare, and I help nurseries be the very best they can be.
The reply: “I wouldn’t bother. Why don’t you get a smaller house and give up work? It’s too much hassle”
I hasten to add these relatives are as first, second or third removed as you can get.
And I have three bedrooms and four kids. HowÂ small is she talking? A bedsit?
My sons stare in disbelief. After my own childhood of falling asleep to the sound of gunshots in gang territory Manchester, I have raised them in somewhat of a bubble.
IÂ hiss through gritted teeth “Stop staring at his eye patch”.
My seven-year-old, who has a tendency to gawp, sniggers “Does he think he’s a pirate?”
I am waiting for my three-year-old to get home at any moment and I know my appearance of living a refined and comfortable life in theÂ Cheshire countrysideÂ is about to come crashing down once he arrives.
The baby crawls around the floor, dribbling and whinging, as I watch his evening routine fade away.
“He’s teething” she informs me.
Thanks for that because as a mum-of-four I’d failed to notice for the last three nights he was chewing his hand off, water flowing from his mouth like a tap!
“God it’s hot in here,” says Captain Hook.
It takes every bone in my body not to snap that the temperature is probably just right at their house.
I am out of biscuits and crisps. They don’t like the tea bags and Iâ€™ve offered them first dibs on anything in the skip outside.
Any moment now surely they will leave?
And then I hear it. The front door bangs asÂ I hear him approach. His footsteps are fitting for a child who has more attitude than he does body.
The living roomÂ door flies open.Â “Mummy what is that smell? It smells weird in here.”
Our female visitor is fond of musk perfume but I’m sure she actually means musk from a Deer or Moose in season!
Three-year-old scans the room and pinpoints his targetÂ “Haha whats that on your eye? Are you from Peter Pan? Can you see me?”
He proceeds to wiggle and dance, as though that makes him more visible.
I am past the point of curling up and dying. I have turned myself inside out twice over with the shame.Â And with that, the most miraculous of eventsÂ occurs.
They both stand up and in perfect harmony exclaim:Â “We best be heading off”.
As I wave goodbye to a car now towing the majority of the junk from my skip, I think to myself how glad I am to have my family.
Slightly disfunctional we may be and full of life is a definite, but I wouldn’t change a thing.Â I work to provide for my boys – but also to help others and possibly keep me sane.
As the distantÂ carÂ exhaust emits fumesÂ as it snakes down the country lane on an engine running off chip fat, I look at the alternative and think we’re doingÂ alright.Â I shut my door and slump on the couch, the baby cuddles in and the boys go to get ready for bed.
As I start to get comfy, I feel a blunt object in my back. I reach down and it dawns on me “I don’t wear reading glasses”.Â My ideal is ruined.
I can turn offÂ all of the lights and teach the kids to hide – as we did when my mum had spent the window-cleaner’s money.
Or I can break the mold and be first in line at the pocket sized post office attached to the local farm shop!
“Special delivery please, without the return to sender option thanks.”
And back to my bubble I go.Â I could have sworn I was ex-directory?
Check out Sally on her website Mrs Nursery
Follow her on Twitter @MrsNursery