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Doodle and coffee

I ran away from my girls the other day … ok maybe I didn’t really run away. . . .

I felt tired of telling them what to do: “eat.” “don’t talk”  “sit nicely at the table”
And I just couldn’t shut up. They were children and I was a nagging mother.
I hated that.

I put on my trousers and saying, “Girls.  You eat your dinner.  I just need to go. I will be downstairs in the coffee shop having coffee, resting and writing.” I left.


I ordered a long black with milk and sat at the table. I took out my diary and started writing and doodling. People used to doodle a lot, stilling on the armchair, with one hand holding the phone and with the other doodling on small piece of paper waiting for the operator or a signal.  Now no one is doodling, everyone is playing on the phone. The only remnants of doodles are books called things like Anti-stress Colouring for Adults. And we buy them seduced by perfectly drawn pictures which shouldn’t be perfect. And even then we never even colour them, we don’t have time any more.

I finished my coffee, thinking how one needs time away from one’s own children and how sanity comes with quiet, coffee and doodles. I finished my coffee and went upstairs.

I tried to open the door and it was locked – clever monkeys had locked the door. I knocked, calling out that it was me, while opening the door with my key. When I opened the door I saw Tania sitting on the sofa in pyjamas combing her wet hair. Zoe, also in pyjamas was sitting back with her feet on the desk reading a book. All the food was finished and the plates were in the sink. It looks as if sometimes it’s good to run away!

Two days later

And I did it again. This morning, I did it as wanted to do free writing – whatever came into my head for half an hour.  To do that I had to escape from children’s questions every five seconds “Mummy where are my undies?” – (exactly where they were yesterday and the day before), or “Can I stop brushing my teeth now?”  This would be Tania while leaning over and drooling on my diary. AAAaaaaaagh!.   Typical morning questions – questions which I wanted escape today. I served the girls their breakfast and prepared a list what they should do.

–  eat breakfast
–  take tablets
–  brush your teeth
–  brush your hair
–  write in your diary

The list had tickboxes  They were very happy to have their own checklist.  So I left. I left and I enjoyed my long black with milk. I spent 50 minutes enjoying adulthood and I went back home.

Should I have worried about leaving my babies on their own in a strange city? Axe murderers? fire? accidents? – that knid of thing. Well my auto-run-mother-risk assessment tool established that the lift lobby required card access, that there was no gas cooker in the place and my girls don’t tend to climb on wardrobes. Beyond that my feelings were more like an itch to know what they are doing, like the itch you get to open Facebook and see how many people like your photo, just for a second – you don’t want to browse Facebook you just want to check. I had to resist that itch. We can’t always wrap those we love in cotton wool.

When I came back the list was done.. Girls were writing in their diary, table was cleaned.  So once more it again felt like leaving them on their own was better idea then telling them what to do.

Ania James

photographer, traveller, mother of twin girls, wife, worldschooler, rulebreaker

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