Monday, 31 May 2010
Thursday, 27 May 2010
You might think that it will never get better. But it does. Eventually he learns that he gets shouted at less if he packs the baby bag and he might even suggest you go out with some friends so that you can get some you time. But mostly, you just learn to accept that life has changed a lot, particularly for you and that there is no point getting worked up about it.
It has taken me quite a long time to reach this place of acceptance (possibly one of the reasons I sailed across the Atlantic last year). But I do still find it incredibly hard to balance work and children and it continues to be a niggle that just won't die.
Take yesterday. I had a big client launch. I got up at 5am, raced into London, performed the PR luvvie dahling thing, raced back home, barrelled through more work while the kids played next door, then raced downstairs at 4.30 to make dinner. Realised that dinner was still frozen, but managed to defrost chicken, turn it into chicken nuggets, chops up potatoes to make chips, get veg on the go, race next door, grab kids, return to finish dinner. Force feed them food, while ironing karate outfits, get them dressed while they were still eating chicken pieces and then was charging out of the door, when my husband waltzed down from the office saying: Do you want me to take them?
Now I should have been pleased that I could get out of racing through traffic to get to karate and could at least use the time to catch up on work, but I just felt annoyed. Why is it that he gets to work undisturbed all afternoon, concentrating solely on his to do list, while I have to interrupt my work to charge about like a lunatic doing 1 billion other things?
Today, the same. I have to stop working at 2.30 to fetch the kids, get them back home and then become 'The Provider of Snacks' (I'm thinking about getting a super hero style cape for this role), 'The Swimming Pool Life Guard' and 'The Meanie' (this last title being awarded to me by son1 as I forced him to do his long overdue homework.) I then got to do laundry, make dinner and break up several fights. Meanwhile, my husband is upstairs working. The amount of work I have waiting for me is staggering, so it means I have to do it at night (when I'm tired) or early in the morning (another 5am start today).
I know, I know. His salary pays the mortgage. Yada yada yada. But how am I ever supposed to build a career that enables me to pay the mortgage when I'm so busy doing so many other unpaid jobs? Why is it that men have the luxury of working on just their job, while women juggle several things at once?
Before you think my husband needs a slap - in his defence, he does help around the house (when he's here). But he does what he's told to do. He doesn't have to THINK and PLAN what has to happen.
I try to see the bright side - I get a varied life and get to spend time with my children (although with today's behaviour that isn't much of a selling point) - but every now and then, that little wrinkle of resentment furrows my brow and if feels like the baby bag days all over again.
I know I'm not alone in this. Solutions on a post it please.
Monday, 24 May 2010
As mentioned, I headed off to the local, very lovely pub for the monthly pub quiz. Until now, taking part in the quiz has involved blokes. And we've done fairly well. And they obviously put it down to their masculine genius. Admittedly, they did know far more of the answers to the car insignia round...
So it was with some trepidation that we entered an all-girl team. But we were determined to prove that we had just as much spurious general knowledge as blokes do, even though we normally have far more important things to talk about (shoes, Boden sales, weight watchers points) than the trivial shite than men seem to discuss for hours, thus equipping themselves well for pub quizzes.
Anyway, there we were. Five of us. All mummies with kids at the same school. All wearing a shade of pink or purple, all slightly glowy from the weekend of sun. We weren't quite Sex & The City glamour but it wasn't our normal jeans and t-shirts uniform either.
We shunned our inside table to sit at an outside banquette. It was glorious. A warm evening and chilled pink prosecco in long glasses. Girly conversation flowed, the pink bubbles flowed faster, and then the quiz started up.
We were on fire! At last a quiz where I actually knew more than one answer. Maybe it's because we took a very feminine approach to it all. We discussed it, all threw our thoughts into the hat, debated the merits of each and finally democratically came to an answer. A stark contrast to the uber-competitive masculine approach of getting the answer out first and having to be right.
As it turns out, we came a very respectable fourth. Ta da! Equalling our last position with the boys.
But that wasn't the highlight of the evening. No, the perfection came when I realised that I was sitting outside, on a gorgeous evening with girls, giggling, chatting and gossiping and it felt like a real evening out, like something I haven't done in a long, long time. It was as though the veil of motherhood that has been covering my eyes for the last 6 years was lifted and I got a sneak peak of what lies beyond. And it was fabulous.
So I raise my virtual glass to girly friends. Because they are what make life pink & bubbly.
Sunday, 23 May 2010
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
(I should just explain here that they call me mommy because I'm South African and we are mommies, not mummies, even though I say mummy to people here in case they think I'm strange).
Given that I have been getting up at 6am, doing the usual laundry, tidying, lunchbox packing, breakfast making, cross training, crazy mother trying to get kids out to school-ing, working like a mad women on multiple new business pitches and two client launches, racing to do pick ups, more work-interspersed-with-cbbc-and-breaking-up-fights, making dinner, charging off to karate classes, bed/bath and more work till midnight most nights, I didn't really feel like I'd been lazy.
So I politely asked why he felt this way.
"You've been lazy with the groceries mommy."
True. Tonight they did have to eat an instant lasagne from the freezer (thanks husband for stocking those). And as there was nothing instantly weight watcher friendly in the freezer, fridge or cupboard, I was forced to enter into a WWII ready steady cook event. (Note how World War and Weight Watchers have the same initals. Hmmmm. Interesting.)
I was rather proud of the soup I made out of 3 limp carrots, 2 sticks of celery, an onion, some sprouting sweet potatoes, a tin of lentils and a hefty (a little too hefty in hindsight) sprinkling of curry powder.
I did point out that the avocado man (Ocado for those of you who don't speak child) was coming tomorrow but that yes, perhaps I had left it a little late in getting some food in, particularly as tomorrow's packed lunch for son2 looks likely to involve pasta salad sans salad. i.e. plain boiled pasta, cold. Or a frankfurter and a celery stick. Or as son2 pointed out, he could have cheese and crackers. Because we still have both of those. Just. Scraping the mould off shouldn't take long.
So yes, maybe I have been a little lazy on the groceries front, but we somehow seem to manage to eat our way through an exhorbitant amount of food, particularly as husband is away abroad (eating steak and drinking great South African wine not that I'm in any way envious) and I'm still on my starvation kick and the kids ignore most of the stuff I put on their plates anyway. Where does all the food go?? Surely it was only seconds ago since I bid farewell to the last avocado man (Bob, in the Cabbage van, nice to meet you).
I seem to spend vast sums of money on food that lasts minutes. Besides the expense of it all, it's rather time consuming all this shopping, even with the wonders of instantly filled online shopping baskets.
So yes son, I have been lazy. And you know what, I don't actually care. Tomorrow, if Petr in the Strawberry van doesn't get here in some cruel twist of fate, you'll be having dinner comprising meringue nests (a left over from election night dinner's Eton Mess), topped with frozen peas and corn (possibly defrosted if I can be arsed) and a side serving of frozen frankfurters. Because that's what we have. Suck it up.
Thursday, 13 May 2010
Which is why my blog posts are starting to resemble buses in West Berkshire - seldom seen and when they are, they trundle along aimlessly without really going anywhere.
But I have been tagged by not one, but two lovely bloggers so this post is for them. First of all, the ever gorgeous Metropolitan Mum has asked me to rummage in my photo files, go to the oldest folder, find the 10th picture in it and tell the story behind it. So here it is. Wish it was something slightly more visually stimulating.
In December 2002, husband and I decided to bid farewell to our time in the USA by driving all the way across the Southern states, from coast to coast. This was in the early part of the journey as the sign says South Carolina. Had I been asked for the 50th photo in the file, I would have been somewhere around Texas, but the pictures all look pretty similar. Long, long, long stretches of road. In case you hadn't spotted this on a map yet, the USA is quite a big place. It took us four days to drive across Texas. So we have a whole photo album of cars driving on the wrong side of the road. You can imagine our friend's joy when we invited them around to see our holiday snaps.
The second tag I received was from someone living in the US no less. Nappy Valley Girl, who lives in Long Island but formally of a different wetter island, has kindly given me the Beautiful Blog Award, which comes with a lovely logo, but I can't figure out how to copy it and am time pressed with starving children demanding breakfast. I am to reveal 7 things about myself that you might not know. Due to starving children, I'm going to have to keep this brief:
1. I am terrified of caterpillars. Particularly silkworms. They literally make my skin crawl and give me a violent urge to gag. My children obviously make a point of trying to find caterpillars so that they can watch their mother shriek and run.
2. My first job was a being a PR poppie (that's an Afrikaans term for...well how do you explain poppie? I suppose an African luvvie dahling is as close a description as any) for the South African Blood Transfusion Service. Part of my job was attending blood donor clinics (wearing a nurses uniform), pricking people's fingers and doing the iron tests. Not quite sure how this was helping our reputation with the public, but there you are.
3. Part of the aforementioned job also involved me having to tie posters for blood donor clinics onto street poles along busy motorways. There I'd be in my little nurses outfit, reaching up to tie the posters on, causing my skirt to creep ever higher, with all the charming, gentlemanly males of the country driving past, hooting and cheering for the nurse poppie on the side of the road. Who says PR isn't glamorous?
4. I am allergic to seafood and in one particularly dramatic incident, I had to be 999d out of a fancy restaurant in Manhattan during a PR launch. That probably wasn't a career highlight either. There appears to be a theme emerging here.
5. I make very good lasagne. I'm not saying it's the best in the world - because that would be boastful - but I can say hand on heart that my lasagne is pretty bloody tasty. There are three secrets to it and I will share them with you here (obviously if you tell anyone I shall have to kill you). One - always cook the sauce for a long time. Two - always add carrots but chopped small. Three - crumble cornflakes on top for the ultimate crunch.
6. I once stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Bali for a week all paid for by British Telecom. This was probably one of the genuinely more glamorous parts of being in PR. While on another British Telecom PR lark in Bangkok, I got taken to a titty bar. It was awkward. Do you look at the (male) client and discuss how to build the BT brand or do you look at the ladies on stage? Seemed rude to talk during the show but I didn't really want to look at other people's bosoms.
7. I once had a job cleaning heavy machinery (diggers etc) at a dockyard in Rotterdam, Holland. Don't ask.
Many of these seem to have been about past jobs. Didn't plan that, just happened. Right, I should pass this onto other bloggers but unless I get cereal down the throats of these children in minutes, there is going to be a riot.
Thursday, 6 May 2010
While today might not have quite such life altering consequences, it's just as important to go vote. Because voting is a priviledge. So use it.