by Lucy Bloom
A short peace about a typical working day.
|A prelude |
(From someone who doesn’t quite ‘get’ preludes)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ‘in to’ going to bed early. But I do so love getting up at 6 am as a parent. I am not a morning person so the extra time is vital if anyone is to get out unscathed. Someone who stayed with me for a couple of months, once commented: “..That’s’ the thing I like about her, she’s ‘quiet’ in the morning..” I had to hold in the laughter; if he only knew what was going on in my head. I felt fully strained first thing when he stayed here. When he moved out, it was such a relief to be able to ‘F and blind and growl. I just nodded, yeah, yeah, and accepted the compliment. That still makes me laugh. I never did let on what I'm really like.
A day in the life of a ‘semi-selfish’ Mum
...Really? Is it six already? So soon?
We had an impromptu fire under the stars last night, with some unexpected guests. It was a long and lovely night. I’m not used to it anymore.
“Aah I’m tired” Yawns Shorty. He reaches up for a hug and says “I love you Mum. Let’s go downstairs!”
Somewhere around 6:30, I’m plonked on the sofa with two empty bowls on my lap, staring blankly at the Breakfast Cartoons. My ‘inner motivational speech’ is gnawing away at my resistance to get my backside into the shower. Today it is winning and I’m dressed and ready to go by 7:30am. There is just the little matter of getting an excitable Shorty ready.
He’s been drawing so we’re in luck, we have the calmer version. As he stands before me the same mutated TV-Nanny clip plays itself in my mind. It is a scene of a mother trying to dress her unruly little boy. Every item of clothing is another time consuming part of the game.“See how the unruly boy easily runs circles around his mother. Look, as she sits there clueless her every move making the situation worse. Simply the worst parenting I’ve seen” Is roughly the dialog that plays alongside this snippet from my ‘oh my god I’m BAD PARENT’ archives.
When I’ve quite finished putting myself down, I realise I can breathe a sigh of relief, none of that today, he’s too busy chatting to me to run a mock. I’m feeling good, we’re well on time to get to Shorty to Nursery and me to work, wait for it...On time! I’ve even got time for a coffee before we go; I’ll just pop a wash-load in the machine first.
As reach for the kettle, the cork board catches my eye and suddenly it all comes flooding back to me, Shorty has a field trip today, and we don’t have anything to make a packed lunch with, great. I’ve no choice but to go to the supermarket (the opposite direction) Times like this I wish I had a car. The extra time I thought I had has grossly mutated in to ‘if we leave right now we’ll only be 15 minutes late’. I feel like I ate a brick for breakfast.
Shorty can’t find his shoes. My auto-response is a carbon copy of my mum. As (too) many are. “They are your shoes, you look for them. If you are late, you can explain why” But I haven’t got time and we're already late! With every place I check, I am becoming hotter and more irritated. By now I am cursing and shouting with every step. I find them; I'm instantly calm. Like dropping 30,000 feet in the blink of an eye. Shorty is notably relieved to see this. I'm notably an evil bitch at times like this.
“I'm sorry mum” Guilt oozes through every vain in my body
“I'm so sorry too Shorty, it’s not your fault, you are only 4 and you are wonderful”
In similar situations, I can be quoted saying: “For Christ’s sakes Shorty! You are 4 years old, you are not a baby any more...Blah blah”
We close the door behind us and begin another race against the clock game. His golden locks blowing around his face, as he bounces along the road. I feel a surge of pure and true love run through me. The most beautiful feeling in the world. I note to myself, I really must get control of my temper. Especially my mouth!
I come home from work. Definitely didn’t get enough sleep last night, I’m aching. I’ve made Shorty a plate of finger food to munch on, dinners a good 2 hours away. I’m just hanging out the washing from this morning and then I can sit down. No, scrap that, I got carried away cleaning the bathroom and now Shorty’s finished eating and needs me, good, I can get him sorted first, hang the washing out, have a lovely cup of tea and a much needed sit down.
Distracted for too many minutes; my lovely cuppas stone cold and I’ve got to get the dinner on. I had to change some batteries for the little guy and I forgot what I was doing. (Having a 5 minute break) I hate that. I actually hate it for two good reasons; the fact that it happens and the frequency with which is occurs.
Dinner is on and I’m sitting with my fresh cup of tea. Then shorty calls “MAAUUUM” as the enthused holler, jackhammers its’ way along the hall and into my ringing brain. I feel the thin skin on my fingers tighten as my hands become balls, back teeth grinding.
Miraculously I manage a pleasant “Yeeees Shorty?”
...“I Loooove yooou muuum”
And there it is. The tension breaker; Balls become hands. Temperature returns to mortal. Systems have been restored.
After finally getting dinner on the table and having had a play around on the internet, we head upstairs. I try to stick to a bedtime rule I have, if you go to bed around 7pm you can have stories. If it is after 8pm ‘I’ don’t do the reading, he looks at books himself. Tonight I’m glad we are upstairs early, but I wish I never made the stupid rule at times like this. I’m tired, my head is irritated. It would work better if I could lie about the time to him. I'm sure.
After we’ve read the stories, Shorty starts talking about being scared (again). Too knackered to go through potentially being up and down the stairs all night, I settle for hugging him to sleep. Sounds sweet on paper, but I’m feeling annoyed inside. Advice has told me as he merrily drifts into slumber I am strengthening the rod for my back. As I ramble on in my brain planning out how this is not going to happen again, the sound of Shorty’s rhythmic breathing becomes beautifully alluring; deep and restful. I just rest my eyes for a minute and sure enough, I drift off to sleep moments behind him.
In the morning, when I find myself wrapped in a Scooby-doo duvet, with cramp and a cold wall on my back. I predict my first thoughts to be something along the lines of “fuckit! Another night wasted! I didn’t get to wind down, I didn’t get my own time, I’m beyond sick of this. I want to pack my bags and change my name, I want to...”
...”Morning mum, I love you mum”
..And there it is.