How many Irish mammies does it take to change a light bulb?
None. Not a one. Don’t mind me. I’m grand. I’ll just sit here by myself. And read my newspaper. In the dark. You go down to the pub and enjoy yourself. Go on, now. Don’t be worrying about me. Here all by myself. In the dark. Alone.
I love that joke. There is more than a strong hint of martyrdom there. It reminds me of me sometimes. A la Carrie Bradshaw in a well-known sitcom, I got to thinking. You know the way men are supposed to instinctively know what we want them to do? Read our minds, like? After all, it’s their baby too. D’you know the way?
Well, sometimes they don’t. They don’t know and they don’t read. For example, Small Baby has an unmistakable odour emanating from his nether regions. Even to the uninitiated this would imply that a nappy change is desperately called for. But the menfolk don’t look at it like this. “Shur, he’ll be grand for a few minutes. I just want to finish this smoke/cup of coffee/paragraph in the paper/very important thing I’m checking out on tinternet.” Twenty minutes has passed and Small Baby has poo coming out of his sleeves, so now he needs a change of clothes as well.
Another example being, you’ve just sat down with a well-deserved cuppa. Small Baby is slumbering gently in his crib but as soon as that first mouthful of caffeine makes its way down your throat, Small Baby’s sixth sense kicks in and he realises he has been sleeping on the job. With the fear of being demoted, Small Baby lets loose an unmerciful roar. You’d love “someone” to step into the breach while you finish your drink and maybe fit in a biscuit. But it ain’t happening. D’you know the way now?
Two and a half years ago, Mister Husband received a text one Saturday night from a thirsty friend asking him was he on his way. He’s had many many text messages since but this one in particular was to arrange meeting up for a drink at 9pm. Bearing in mind Mister Husband’s inhabitance on another planet altogether when it comes to time keeping, people know at this stage that for him to be told the meeting time is 9pm, really means he will only be leaving the house at 9pm. The friend in question was going to be a first time dad in a matter of weeks and I remarked that he was quite right to be anxious, as all pub visitation rights would dry up shortly. Friend quickly replied informing Mister Husband that he too was going to be in the firing line as I was also due Screecher Creature No. 3 at the same time. I helpfully reminded friend that this was our third child and Mister Husband has all his escape routes well and truly covered by now. And I know this, how? Well, one day I concentrated really, really hard and I managed to get inside Mister Husband’s head. He still has no idea that I got in there and discovered what I suspected I already knew. Just for shits and giggles (a little phrase Mister Husband is fond of) these incidentally also double up as my top don’ts unless you want to Really Piss Her Off.
So escape route number one: Piss her off. Big time. So much so that she ends up screaming at you to get out of her sight; you’re about as useful as hen’s teeth. She’s sick of the sight of you.
You can (a) go to your mothers who will question what you’re doing there when your week old baby and his exhausted, hormonally riddled, sanity challenged mother need you or (b) go to the pub.
Escape route number two: When your wife, the aforementioned new mother, tells you, not asks, tells you to do something, piss her off by (a) not doing it (b) doing it your way, not hers.
Only you can know which of these has the power to infuriate her more. So how do you Piss Her Off? Read on, for a combination of Escape Route number three and the perfect way to get out of giving her a lie in ever again. Well, possibly not ever again, but certainly guarantee it won’t be a regular occurrence.
So escape route number three and how to wriggle out of giving her a regular lie in.
(a) kid(s) wake up at 5am. Magnanimously tell her that she should stay in bed and you will look after them.
(b) Take them downstairs.
(c) Do not feed them. This way they will be so cranky by the time she gets up, she will be wondering why she ever even thought about a lie in.
(d) Under no circumstances, dress them. This also includes changing shitty nappies. Just don’t. This will garner much the same desired result as (c)
(e) Allow them to make a mess and don’t clean up afterwards. Emptying the press where the saucepans are kept is a winner!
(f) Noise levels are important. Loud ones.
(g) Don’t put on their favourite Saturday/Sunday morning cartoons. Make no effort to appease them when they begin to protest. Same applies when they begin to attack each other over stolen toys. Let them on. When one or more of them end up at the stair gate, howling pitifully for their mother, make yourself another cup of coffee, take it out the back to drink and turn a deaf ear.
(h) You know all those CD’s and DVD’s she has? Kids love to play with these. Encourage them to put the CD’s in the DVD cases.
(i) It’s still only 6am and they start looking to go outside. Your neighbours are gone by 7am on a weekday morning and you’re vaguely aware that their curtains do not open before 12 midday at the weekends. You let the kids out into the back garden (with the saucepans) and hope the neighbours won’t be too hard on your wife when they call round to complain later on that day.
(j) Re going outside to play – neglect to put on their wellies. Scrubbing filthy muck off the soles of a couple of pairs of shoes with those intricate little treads will drive her ballistic altogether.
It’s very tongue in cheek but I bet it also sounds familiar. Here’s another joke for you. I’ve conveniently omitted the first half of it as it really wouldn’t work with this article. Newly married couple and she wants to make sure things keep continuing as well as they have been so far. She throws her knickers at him one night and tells him to put them on. He picks them up and looks at her. “Shur, I’ll never get into those.” She throws him a warning look. “Just you remember that!”