I started writing this post three weeks ago…that’s how long it takes me!
First up I’ll tell you that I am not a ‘School Run Mum’. No, I am a ‘grab all your bags and kids under one arm, race to nursery, realise your child has no socks on, forget your cheque book for payment again, apologise profusely again, run out of the door and drive to work sixty mile to the dozen Mum.’ But, of course, you knew that all ready.
This morning, after another terrible night, with my little Dude (a temperature in the 40s and an ear infection) we were turned out on our asses by nursery as he hadn’t been on antibiotics for 48 hours and I found myself suddenly facing a double drop off and a busy M62.
I was going to be late. Proper late. Now, perhaps only teachers will really appreciate and understand this, but to feel really in control of your day ahead, you should arrive a good thirty minutes before morning meetings and form time. Before children, I would arrive promptly, sort my emails out, make sure all my resources were in order, plan my lessons for the next day and hell, I’d even get some books marked. Nowadays my pupils are lucky if I have even have my coat off and dress on the right way round (I once had to do a mad dash to the toilets before staff briefing to change one black dress around. I was twiddling with a button on my collar when I realised that there wasn’t usually a button there…) I can usually be found writing the learning objectives on the board while still balancing my handbag on my arm and with my car keys dangling from my mouth.
But, hey, at least my objectives are always on the board.
This morning however, I was late. Five minutes late. I sent a frantic text while sandwiched between two lorries on the M62. ‘I may need cover for my form,’ it read. ‘I’m stuck on the motorway. I will review the situation in twenty minutes and text back.’
Twenty minutes later, I was zooming down a country lane determined to make it in time for form. I did. Just. But I missed staff briefing. Damnit. The briefing that all staff must attend.
Sitting at my desk during my free period, probably looking a little dishevelled and red eyed from the night previous, our lovely HR lady came to see if I was okay.
“We’re worried about you,” she said. “We know you’ve got a lot on and saw that you were panicking about running late this morning.”
“Will it go on my record?” I asked.
I sighed with relief. I am proud of my almost perfect (one blip – which was the Dude’s fault a couple of weeks ago when he decided it would be fun to throw up all day) attendance record.
She explained that she was there as a mother to offer support and advice. She told me that if I needed anything, I only had to ask.
“Um, can you pay my mortgage for a couple of months?” I suggested.
I was being serious.
This got me thinking. What on earth do I look like to others? It can’t be good if I have HR offering
to pay my mortgage support. Perhaps I don’t have quite the handle on mornings as what I should have by now. Let me show you how I daily kick ass on a morning and when I say ‘kick’ I really mean ‘suck’. Not only do I suck ass at getting ready on a morning, I am usually doing it with either milk, snot or poo somewhere about my person. None of which is mine, I might add. Well, at least I don’t think it is…
I wake before my alarm because, like my son, I am programmed to wake every hour. However, unlike my son, I am hanging out of one side of the bed (the side changes in accordance to the last boobage) and one arm is often raised above my head, frozen there from the last lay down feed. Each morning, I consider asking God for detachable arms in the next life. Imagine it. You can take them out of their socket like a Barbie doll, leave them at the side of your bed and roll around to your heart’s content without them getting stuck in awkward positions. Detachable arms – they’re the future. Now, whilst dreaming up the idea that detachable arms might be my way to make a million, (cos my writing sure ain’t doing it) I realise that I have stupidly left my phone right next to the Dude’s head and within seconds the alarm is about to sound. Trying to move my numbed arm, and without waking the snoozing child, I attempt to reach my phone before it vibrates. My mind wonders again as I see a flaw in my detachable arm plan when BEEP BEEP BEEP, the alarm sounds and wakes him up. Once again, no private shower for me then.
Having finished my three minute power shower, I feel refreshed and awake. Not because the soothing hot water hammered it’s way into my skin and awoken my soul but because I am forced to play a mean tug o’ war with the Dude. It’s mean because if he loses, he ends up with a shower door in his face (he doesn’t realise this as he continues to initiate the daily game) and if I lose, I end up flat on my arse in a dingy dirty shower which despite my weekly scouring efforts still looks like a bunker from WW2 abeit a blue and white tiled one, but still a filthy bunker all the same. So after the shower comes the dressing. I’m not going to focus on the dressing of me. I won’t lie – it’s not pretty. It usually involves me half wrapped up in a purple dressing gown with the boy using me as a standing prop while trying to eat my mascara. I thought I would focus on dressing the girl.
Or rather chasing the girl around the house, rugby tackling her and pulling her out of her pyjama bottoms as she lays on the carpet screaming for the ‘hi-pad’. It usually ends in tears. Either hers, mine or both. When dressing her, she likes to play a hysterical game of ‘dead weight’ where she just lets all her limbs hang lose and she flops over and often knocks me over revealing the big pants that hold up my tights to the Other Half who has just enjoyed a relaxing shower having already eaten his breakfast. I have yet to eat.
Ah, yes, breakfast. It is, without doubt, the most important meal of the day. I do make a solid effort not to miss it and in order to make sure I eat, I buy Weetabix. Not because it is the tastiest cereal on the supermarket shelf, but because it is the quickest to eat. I can inhale two sugar coated Weetabix in less than twenty seconds. Having already eaten a nourishing bowl of Jordan’s (And I quote: ‘It makes my poo look like a Snicker’s Bar’) Nut Crunch, you would think that the Other Half would wash up his bowl before heading upstairs to clean his teeth wouldn’t you? However, the washing up is usually done by me. By this time, I am usually running late so in order to quicken my pace, I put The Dude on the floor so he can crawl over to me by the sink, use my tights to pull himself up and scream, scream and scream. Try it. A five minute washing up task can be reduced to a 30 second job if you have a screaming child clambering up your tights and pulling out your fuzzy leg hairs. Not only does your washing up get done but any need for an epilator is gone. It can sometimes however, just create more jobs for you later in the day when the Other Half notices bits of Weetabix or Nut Crunch encrusted into your bowls and just places them back by the sink and reprimands you for not washing up properly in the first place. Argh!
After breakfast, we race upstairs, clean our teeth, find coats and shoes and then switch off every light in the house. I honestly don’t know who switches them on. I grab my bag, the baby bag, my girl’s school bag and sometimes my marking bag and stumble to the car. The Other Half is long gone by this time as he is ‘on duty’ or ‘has assembly’ so it’s down to me to do the ‘school’ or Grandparents’ run. As I put the kids in the car, my girl shouts for the ‘hi-pad’ again.
Some people lift weights to keep fit. Me? I just carry multiple bags and children to and from the car daily.
“It won’t work without Wi-Fi; there is no point in taking it.”
“I want to watch Topsy and Tim!”
“It won’t work!”
“I’ll use the I-Cloud or check the downloads.”
“What? You’re four! You shouldn’t know these things.”
Holding out her hand:
Reluctantly, I head back into the house and retrieve the battered I-Pad and switch the central heating off at the same time (see, I needed to go back inside anyway.)
Then we set off. And if we are heading over to my Mum’s, that is when we will inevitably get stuck in traffic.
“The sirens are screaming and the fires are howling way down in the valley tonight…THE LIGHTS ARE ON GREEN. GO GO GO! WHO TAUGHT YOU HOW TO DRIVE? There’s a man in the shadows with a gun in eye and a blade shining oh so bright…OH MY GOD, IT’S A SPEEDBUMP, NOT MOUNT EVEREST! B*LL*CKS, I’M GONNA BE LATE…”
And that’s when the frantic texting begins.
After throwing the kids out of the car (disclaimer: a metaphor for dropping off my much loved children quickly), I arrive at work at 8.29am and rejoice that I am not late and am fully prepared to face the day.
That is until HR come a knocking.
Our bruised, battered, toddler abused Hi-Pad.