A working mom’s day

Raging Bull

The Raging Bull at four and a half

I once read this tip from a working mother: dress your kids in their clothes for the next day the night before. That way you don’t have to worry about what they are going to wear in the morning.

It might sound more extreme than throwing yourself down a mountain on a board, but the advice comes from some high-flying chief executive. On bad mornings, though, I do wish the kids would wake up miraculously ready, like robots that just need to be switched on and marched out the door.

So I am facing another working week. On one particular evening recently I had just picked up the kids from the childminder after yet another stress-inducing commute on the tube. Knowing that there is nothing to eat in the house, I drag the kids into a local supermarket that mostly sells pre-packaged food. I tend to fall back on the packaged food at 6pm on a weeknight.

I stare at the aisles, my eyes hoping to alight on some inspiration. I end up buying fries – they call them ‘frites’ here to make them sound posh – that you just pop in the oven. The other part of the meal, I figure, will come to me like a blot of lightning. It doesn’t.

I get home at 6.15 with a small selection of random groceries, the Raging Bull’s artwork, two water bottles, one child’s backpack and a change of clothes stuffed into a plastic bag. Since becoming a mother I’ve developed some sympathy for mules.

All I could think about was sitting on the sofa and watching House of Cards on Netflix while drinking a glass of wine. But instead I knew that one of my chores would be putting out an array of black socks on a drying rack after they’ve come out of the washing machine. (I don’t have one of those fancy things called ‘tumble dryers’.)

There was no English Husband at home, so I’d be lucky if I sat down by 9pm.

I must have hinted at all these chores or given the impression of exhaustion when the four-year-old Raging Bull asks me earnestly: ‘Are you fed up, Mommy? Do you think you’re fed up?’

The Raging Bull, now four and a half, has reached the climax of her cute phase. I fear that this is the cutest she will ever be and then, like the fragile spring blossom on a tree, it will be gone.

I laugh, knowing that one day I will wish for this moment to happen again. No matter that I nearly lose my sanity every week, that I run around from one place to the next, often barely catching my breath. Or that I never quite know what homework is meant to be turned in on which day, or when the ‘reading day’ is meant to be or the PE day.

Never mind that family dinners are fraught affairs in which I don’t even have time to sit down with the kids. I just go from kitchen to table, ferrying food, fruit and water, hoping to get it all done by 7pm so that they can have their bath.

But one day in the distant future I will wish for this all over again, just to hear a four-year-old tell me that she loves me.




Filed under motherhood

11 responses to “A working mom’s day

  1. Cousin

    I’lll be there to help you soon and give you a break!! I thought Raging Bull looked liked the English Husband but this recent pic clearly shows she is a mini YOU!! xoxo

  2. Oh dear, I feel for you. I only have a three-year-old, don’t have full-time work and don’t commute, yet there are days when I feel absolutely spent at the end of the day. From now on, I will never complain again. Is that the raging bull in the photo? She is gorgeous! 🙂 ps Just finally finished Life after Life. Loved it! 🙂

    • I might go to work in an office, but all mothers work. My days ‘off’ don’t feel that restful either because they are often full of chores. I’m sure you can relate with a three-year-old at home. Isn’t Life after Life great? I’m glad you liked it.

  3. Jeanelle

    Sounds exhausting, and at the same time, so rewarding! The Raging Bull’s comment was hilarious, especially coming from a four-year old! I can’t believe how much she’s grown, and I agree with your cousin…she looks just like you. Too cute!

  4. Connie

    Sounds like you are describing my week to a T from start to finish. I’m lucky if my day ends early which is 11 p.m. Enjoy those little moments of cuteness. I love hearing Diego yell Mommy and running up to me, nearly tackling me down with a hug when I pick him up from afterschool care. I just brace myself and wait for it because I missed him and hadn’t seen him for 10 1/2 hours. The Raging Bull looks just like you! It’s an awesome picture of her!

    • 11pm! That is late and you probably get up earlier than me too. I like to be tucked in at 10.30 with a book. Sometimes I last about 10mins reading and then crash out. Sometimes I can’t sleep. Go figure. We took the picture at Russell Square, a small park in central London, on a bracing spring day last week. In fact, spring seems to have disappeared.

  5. frederique

    I loved the comment about the mule!!! it was so funny! and so true. Yesterday, I spent the day out with Sebastien. It was such a lovely sunny day that I thought we can not just sit home. went to the park, then the cinema. Sebastien was actually well behaved while climbing up and down those made for kids attractions and at the cinema (with the help of popcorn and sweets) but when we had to leave the house, while walking from a to b and after the cinema, he kept on driving me nuts. Screaming, banging stuff, running away, trying to climb up buildings, hiding at the bus stop etc…

    I came home thinking ; oh god I am going to cry! instead I went to open a bottle of red. Had a glass then by the time I put him to bed, I felt really happy holding him and watching him fall asleep. it’s crazy!

  6. Sophie O

    House of cards eh? We’ve just finished season 2. I didn’t understand much regarding the mechanics of American politics but otherwise I was captivated by it!
    New job starts April 22nd btw, I’ll be in touch to arrange dinner xxxxxx

  7. Same here. My eyes kind of glazed over when all the political talk started – who understands all that wrangling with Raymond Tusk? Plot is still great, though. The politics is just the background.

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