Friday, 29 January 2016
Me x 3: A working mum's Brief History of Time
Time is a very elastic concept. It seems to expand or contract in direct correlation to your age and how much you have to fit into a given number of hours.
For my children an hour is: 'Forever, that's why school is so boring', I quote. Whereas for me every year passes as quickly as a scrap of garden glimpsed from the window of a speeding train.
I seem to have whizzed from 18 to 44 in about 15 minutes or so and a hour is but a nanosecond in which I manage to complete virtually nothing, other than to glimpse at my watch to declare 'My god is that the time?'.
I feel as if the only way I can possibly complete all the tasks set for me in any given day is to have myself cloned at least three times over.
I could have one of me to be the professional working woman. She would have time to wash and properly blow dry her hair, to learn subtle make up techniques and how to walk in high heels without it crippling her. She could get up at 6am to go to the gym, she could go out for drinks after work and she could go to all those infinite training courses that would teach her how to do her job properly. She could negotiate pay rises and new jobs with aplomb and find a way to get along with the most challenging of colleagues. She would be quietly confident and instead of buckets of debt would have a tidy nest egg carefully saved in a high interest account. I am sure my other selves would be terrified of her.
Then there would be mummy me. She could have infinite patience to listen to the children's prattle. She would not sacrifice bedtime stories to slip off for a glass of wine. She would come up with inventive and enjoyable ways to complete school projects. She would ensure that the children were engaged in the most enriching after school activities. She would bake cakes for the school fete and go along to every PTA meeting. She would think of tasty, healthy meals to cook from scratch every night. She would by sympathetic, empathetic and definitely the one my other selves would turn to if they needed a button sewing on or to delve for a snack in her handbag.
Finally there would be the real me. The one who subsists on wine, crisps and too much chocolate. Who endlessly promises that I will lose weight/go for a run/write a book.....tomorrow. I would go out with friends and get dreadfully pissed, safe in the knowledge that work me would be up with the alarm ready to get in on time. I would quiver and dither over what I wanted to do with my life as working me and mummy me would have all the important stuff covered. I would read books and watch boxsets on the sofa in the daytime. I would stay up ridiculously late playing games on my phone and then sleep till midday.
Yes, I think that if I were me times three I might just get this working mother thing cracked. As it is I have to keep muddling along doing my best with the measly 24 hours at my disposal. Which is perhaps why real me seems to so frequently take steering wheel of my life into her unsteady hands.