By Sandra Beck
Those short eighty minutes between waking and setting off to work encapsulate all the traumas of working motherhood.
My son, at the ripe age of 5, is clearly not a morning person. He flops across his bed in a Dali-esque pose, idly riffing through the things that might delay his needing to get up. “I want to stay at home today, Mommy. Why can’t I? I like being with you, Mommy”. After a pause he’ll muse “I’d like to watch Shrek… I want it NOW”. Then he’d try “I’m hurt – look” pointing to a freckle on his forearm “I need to stay in bed to get better”.
(Ping! Guilt – Working Motherhood Cliche 1)
He’s quite capable of dressing himself – and sometimes he will roll through the morning chores referring to the special chart I’ve drawn for him. Other times I get drawn into putting his socks on and debating the merits of regular school attendance. Then I wonder why the morning always ends in me running in high heels.
(Ping! Doing everything for everyone – WMC 2).
The morning pivots around breakfast: we need to all be at the table dressed by 7.30, so that we can enjoy ten minutes actually looking at our loved ones. Breakfast gives us a target to work towards. It breaks up the relentless nagging and chivying with something pleasant.
(Ping! Fiercely fought for ‘quality time’ – WMC 3)
Mind you, for breakfast, and all the rest, to fall into place, I’m getting up a full hour before the rest of the family.
(Ping! Self sacrifice – WMC 4).
We have a kitchen calendar which holds all the family’s appointments. We check the calendar and pack our bags. I always double check my phone is charged; make sure I know who will be picking up the kids in the evening.
(Ping! Organizational powerhouse – WMC 5).
“Kids – I said SHOES. Not Lego, not picking fluff from behind the radiator, SHOES. That’s why we never have time to play in the mornings. We spend the whole time talking about SHOES. SHOES SHOES SHOES SHOES SHOES. Thank you. That’s better.”
(Ping! Frazzled- WMC 6).
All that – but we do have time for a lovely kiss and a hug to say goodbye and to wish each other a nice day.