Saturday, 18 June 2016

Contrariness and other working mum conundrums

Looking out of the window dark clouds were gathering, ripe with a torrential downpour. I wasn't really that surprised that the once cloudless blue sky now held such menace. After all it was around half an hour until school pick up. It is a strange meteorological phenomenon that so much rain always falls inside the single hour that it takes to collect the children from school. Perhaps someone should do a study?

As I reluctantly began to scour the cupboards for snacks and loaded myself up with four raincoats that had seemed entirely unnecessary when the boys had left for school, it was with a heavy heart. I had grown to hate the school pick up. The way it rudely interrupted my flow of work, or procrastination, or television watching, depending on how busy I was. It was an annoying chore that, after a decade of braving the elements to collect tetchy children at the end of nursery or school, I'd definitely had enough of.

Even if the elements hadn't already soured my mood, the bickering, fighting and ungrateful moaning about my choice of after school snack, soon would. I would sit in the car as I drove back home with my jaw clenched tight against the scream of frustration that was bubbling up inside me. It was boring, thankless and if I never had to do the school run again it would be too soon. So imagine my surprise when this was one of the mummy chores I missed the most when I went back to work. I suppose it's the same effect at work as when someone dies and suddenly you can't remember a single bad thing about them, even if they were the most curmudgeonly pain in the arse when they were alive.

Suddenly, rather than being a rain sodden grind, the school run was bathed in the golden light of nostalgia. Those tedious school gate chats about the minutiae of classroom politics, were transformed into the sophisticated debate only to be found in the most intellectual of fin de si├Ęcle salons. Rather than the infinitely more prevalent rainy days, I remembered only the afternoons when the sun baked the tarmac of the school path to a glittering sheen and we all celebrated by eating vanilla sweet Mr Whippys from the ice cream van. Instead of being filled with whinging and sniping, those car journeys back home were our chance to share cosy chats about their day at school.

Such is the contrariness of the working mum. Where a year ago I couldn't wait to escape the tedium of household drudgery, now it holds a strange allure. Well that is until I spend my weekend doing laundry and helping the kids with their homework. Then I remember that perhaps the grass really is greener when at least you are paid to deal with mind numbing tasks and unreasonable demands.

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