I am not at one with the rain. I wish I was one of those Hunter welly wearing, cagoule rocking outdoorsy mums. I want to be jumping up and down in muddy puddles, snorting to myself with laughter like Peppa pigs mum. But I am not. Those mothers are the Land Rovers of parenting, but alas I am not an all-terrain model. I am like one of those rickety scooters you drove on holiday in Ibiza in your flip flops in 1999. I’m great fun in the sunshine, but take me out in the rain and I’ll probably skid over on my arse and then (have a) break down. I obsessively check the weather before making plans. I am not willing to find myself in the middle of some National Trust property in an almighty downpour, forced to rush into the tea shop where you queue to wait for a teenager with no sense of urgency to serve you an overpriced hot chocolate, while the grubby children run riot, and retirees tut at you.
It riles me that the children want to go out when it’s pissing it down. I find their waterproof suits and wellies endearing, but the reality of their practical use makes me want to cry a little bit. I take little pleasure from having my hair go frizzy in the drizzle while I push the Diva (4) on the swing for the 47th time. We’ve come here to knacker them out, and the only one that’s exhausted is me. They are still bursting with energy, and the rain doesn’t appear to be putting a dampener on their fun. However the damp is certainly raining on my parade. I’m starting to scowl. I’m swaying from foot to foot, doing a bit of stamping. I’m getting cold, I’m muttering under my breath. I’ve certainly had enough of watching the Hulk (2) climb up the highest thing in the playground, waiting for the rain to build to biblical proportions, and then refuse to come down. He wants me to come up and retrieve him. I was not designed for climbing up small ladders. He laughs in my face throughout the entire process, then runs across a rope bridge and hides somewhere else. I can often be found cowering under a small wooden platform from the rain. After 10 minutes of rain the bottoms of my jeans start reminding me of a year 8 science lesson. They are like enormous pieces of litmus paper and I’m watching the damp spreads upwards from the hems while they change colour. The children already look like they’ve completed a tough mudder race, and are guaranteed to fall over in some mud or poo within 5 minutes of arrival. Obviously they will then proceed to cry hysterically until I hug them, rubbing dog shit all over myself. So here I am, wondering why we didn’t just go to soft play.
Then there’s the baggage. At the end of every outdoor outing, I’m weighed down with smooth pebbles, acorns and conkers. The children will no doubt be brandishing a number of interesting looking sticks. They hide things about my person without me even noticing. If I find one more pine cone in my poxy cagoule pocket, I will be forced to set up a stand as the school Christmas Fete. (There’s always someone there with some pine cones spray-painted gold, I’ll fit right in.)
When it rains, I want to sit on the sofa, eating biscuits. I’m happy for the children to join me, and I’m more than happy to read the Gruffalo, I’ll even use all the funny voices they love but I just don’t want to go outside. I can’t wait for the kids to be old enough to sit down and play board games on a rainy afternoon. I’m well up for 13 back to back games of Guess Who, I can’t wait to shout “Does he look like a Russian Spy? It must be Bernard” Have you reported him to your headmistress for flashing outside school? It must be George! I want to play Monopoly. I want to teach them Uno. I just don’t want to go outside in the rain, ok?