Last week was half term and like a good mummy I took several days off work. I stopped on Wednesday once the nanny clocked off, and didn't go back until this Tuesday thanks to an inset day that was helpfully tacked onto the end of the holiday. We went paddling in the Diana Memorial Fountain with daddy, we played in the sand for hours and hours, we went on a boat to Greenwich and toured the Maritime museum. In short a good time was had by all.
The net result of this was that I had a stack of work waiting in a sullen pile waiting for me to return to the chains that normally bind me to my desk. Tuesday was a day from hell where interview, followed interview, followed interview. Wednesday I was knee deep in uploading content to the website I edit when the phone shrilled a hole in my concentration. It was grandma who was on boy watch that afternoon to tell me that the firstborn's stubborn verucca had developed a unsightly accessory in the form of a ginormous blister that was threatening to take over his whole foot.
Down went the tools once again, website half finished, but all thought of work were dashed away by my concern for the boy. I rushed over and was overwhelmed by the magnitude of his swollen tootsie. It was off to the walk in clinic, naturally the GP was closed, where his blister was lanced and he was put on super strength antibiotics to clear up the underlying infection.
Trouble is, while the immediate problem is solved we are left with a limping six-year-old who feels very sorry for himself. And when six-year-olds feel sorry for themselves the one person they want to know about it is mum. He has been laying on the guilt trip about me daring to work ever since the early hours of the morning (when admittedly I did have to shoo him away so I could do a quick spot on the radio).
The end result is that I feel those horrible tendrils of maternal guilt wrapping a stranglehold grip around my heartstrings. I want to bin all my productive plans and sit on the sofa cuddling him in my arms and telling him how loved he is. But if I do that I will have to cancel a long overdue visit to the office of one of my main employers, which I won't be able to reschedule for a week. Not an option as I am working to a tight deadline for a big project that must be completed before I disappear for the whole summer holiday.
Oh the joy of working motherhood. I love my boys and I always try to prioritise them, taking time off when I know they will be off school and rushing to their side in even the tiniest of an emergency. But when their convalescence clashes with work is when it really starts to bite. Should I cancel an important meeting just to give him exactly what he wants, even though now he is happily off playing with his grandparents who are in charge of childcare today? Or should I leave him in their capable hands and deal with the pit of bubbling guilt and whisk into London to do my job?
I know he will be fine, in fact I can hear him giggling downstairs now, so I guess the call of my career will be met, but it's on days like this that I wish I was a SAHM who could simply devote myself to my boy when he needs me. Mind you if I am brutally honest I would probably be tearing my hair out with frustration and boredom within half an hour of coping with a vaguely unwell six year old and his three smaller brothers, so perhaps all my maternal fantasies are just that, and I am better off leaving well alone while I tussle with HTML.