“I can’t believe I have to pretend to be a lawyer today”
So says Miranda Hobbs, the control freak uptight lawyer character of Sex and the City and essentially my kindred spirit in motherhood, moaning wearily down the phone to Carrie after a typically bad night’s sleep.
In the early days of motherhood, stuck in the house on a relentless feeding schedule, trashy TV was my saviour and Sex and the City series 4 was my Holy Grail. Watching Miranda struggle to come to terms with pregnancy, desperately wondering how to fit in with childless friends and trying to figure out how to cope with being a mum but knowing being just-a-mum wasn’t enough I felt I’d found someone who understood. Albeit someone who wasn’t real, whose friends were ridiculously obsessed with sex and who were often not that nice.
Months passed, I learned how to balance motherhood and I passed the joys of my SATC box set onto another friend who was expecting.
Then this morning, I had a major Miranda flashback.
Several weeks ago I blogged about how much I enjoyed being a working mum. I was confident, proud and possibly verging on smug. This week the gods of parenthood have taken their revenge and come to taunt me.
A husband with food poisoning (I told him not to eat those pork pies), a childminder with stomach flu and hay fever so bad I can barely open my eyes in a morning. All these are things I could cope with. Even with a holiday for 10 people to coordinate and a summer full of family visits to organise, I could cope. Even with a baby party practically every weekend and my own family birthday season in full swing (oh god, just remembered there’s one this weekend!), I could just about stay on top of things. Even in a week when I have 2 schemes of work to write, a performance management observation and an assessment to prepare for despite never being able to actually get hold of the kids doing it, I reckon I could just about manage it all.
But throw in an-almost toddler who is so excited by his ability to almost pull himself up and almost walk that he’s decided he no longer needs sleep and I start to falter. Add to that his determination that means he screams blue murder numerous times in the night if you don’t get him up to practise, and I’m verging close to the edge. Top it all off with his amazing ability to sleep crawl, meaning when I finally give up and put him to sleep in the same bed as me I wake up every 20 minutes to discover he’s about to nose-dive off the edge of the mattress or get rudely awaken with a swift punch or kick to the nose, and I start to lose it.
Scrap that, I’ve lost it.
Looking at the bedraggled vision in the mirror this morning, with a grouchy one year old balanced on my hip, I thought ‘I can’t believe I have to pretend to be a teacher today.’
I just about managed it, smiling kindly at students as they entered my room and staring intently at my school planner whenever I had the chance so they didn’t notice I was actually holding on to the desk to stop myself from keeling over. I even managed a few productive chats with students before part way through the day I felt myself begin to sway like a tipsy middle aged mum during a ballad at a Take That concert. Finally I made it to the end of lesson bell before being washed over with a wave of nausea so strong it could wash all doughnut wrappers off of Blackpool Pleasure Beach in an instant.
I couldn’t cope. I couldn’t pretend to be a teacher anymore. I had to go home.
Thank God I don’t teach Friday afternoons and have a boss nice enough she didn’t even let me finish my sentence before ordering me out of work.
I imagine not many people are so lucky, and I intend never to take it for granted that having a nice employer and nice colleagues makes it so much easier for me to be a working mum.
I’d love to sign off with a witty note, an interesting message or just something vaguely clever but I’m still knackered and really need to go to bed.
After all, I still have to pretend to be a decent parent tomorrow.