She faces the kitchen window that sits over the steel-grey sink. Her three, small children play around her feet.
With her hands plunged into the dirty, warm water of the washing up bowl, she looks distractedly ahead. She is shattered, daydreaming, staring into the lush foliage of the garden that she can see beyond the smudged glass of the kitchen window.
Through idle habit. she turns on the radio. She is vaguely aware of a confrontation on the news programme that greets her ears. She doesn’t have the energy to deal with their enthusiasm, so she switches the station to something more soothing. She lets the gentle music wash over her, and lets the dirty washing up water slip quietly down the plug hole.
She decides not to worry about the rest of the pots. She smiles an absent minded smile – no point wasting energy doing jobs that never end. Best to not worry about it.
She feels very little.
She realises that during her distraction, the din from her three small boys has become deafening. How did that happen? Perhaps the gentle music disguised their disharmony. They were playing so nicely last time she looked.
She asks them to be quiet. She asks them what is wrong. She feels disconnected, like she is underwater listening to the noises that surround her. Ineffective, seemingly powerless, she wanders into the living room
“Come on and watch the telly?”,she asks, tiredness evident in the rings beneath her eyes.
Delighted, three little cherub faces fall onto the sofa beside her. The sensitive one snuggles up, silently. The toddler runs into the room, weeing all over the stained rug as he goes. “I’m here!”, he seems to say. She picks a damp bath towel from the floor and carelessly places it under his bottom, in a half hearted attempt to protect the settee.
The outspoken one lies across his mothers lap
“You. Are. GREAT”
She is too tired to explain that collapsing in front of the TV again is not the greatest act of parenting. She instead just tells him that he is great too. By now he is engrossed in the TV show:
“I don’t want to speak anymore.”
The children are all of them silenced. This silence should be welcome. But she is too tired to notice it.
She knows she ought to do more with them, to think more, to respond better to the challenges life throws her way. But she reasons that she barely makes an imprint on the world she inhabits: why waste energy worrying about things that she cannot change?
In her apathy, she has found her excuse to do nothing.
They sit quietly. Nobody speaks.