It appears that I may have married my mother. It wasn't immediately apparent at first, but it has shown itself in little winks and nudges over the years until today, when it finally twigged. Yes I have definitely married my mother. Oh dear.
Obviously I haven't actually married her, that would be weird, at the very least illegal, but the emerging similarities between Husband and my Mother are alarming. They both allow themselves a quiet panic (badly disguised) when confronted with my chocolate/chardonnay habit, they both treat texting like it is a form of devil worship (cue more badly disguised panic), both have a penchant for tutting under their breath when the television programme fails to meet their expectation (but never at Ray Mears/Jeremy Clarkson (Husband) Coronation Street/Heartbeat (Mother)), both think that anything the children do beautifully (manners/eating/general genius) is a direct result of their influence while any misbehaviour is down to my parenting skills, and neither has a clue as to how to work a dishwasher. In fact my Mother's dishwasher stands open at all times, gleaming and shining in the light, cleaner than the day it was bought, which it should be, she has never used it. She likes guests to see the inside so that they think that she's so fastidious that she cleans inside the dishwasher (should I point out that it's self-cleaning?) therefore giving the two fingers to Shirley-the-competition who also has a gleaming house/dishwasher and a secret cleaner to help her to do it.
I know about the secret cleaner because Shirley-the-competition has a daughter my age, we were pitched against each other at any opportunity when we were growing up as part of the competition - anything would do, as long as I won at it. The fuse finally blew when we were asked to have a Who Can Write Their Name The Quickest competition and I technically won, having written my first name first, but Shirley-the-competition's daughter went on to write her three middle names and started on the double-barrelled surname which, said her mother, negated the competition due to her daughter's obvious desire to stretch herself while I was obviously quite happy to do the minimum. Cue a fierce but polite row at which us two girls decided to throw in the towel. We were 27.
So here I am, several years free of competitive parenting and enjoying the freedom to tie my shoelaces without a stop watch being bought out. I have sworn many times that my children would never be subjected to the same level of expectation and they haven't. They will probably never appreciate it, having never experienced it, and will look up from their worthwhile job as a street cleaner and judge me for not having invited them to stretch themselves.
Or maybe not. This morning I walked into the playroom where Husband was dressing Isla. You know he said, Isla can put her dress on three seconds faster than last week, he showed me the stop watch as proof. I wonder how fast Matilda can do it, she's coming to stay next week isn't she, we could have a look.
I told you, I have married my mother.