Ever have that dream where you’re driving down a street and suddenly the breaks won’t work anymore, and you can no longer change direction with the steering wheel and you inevitably crash the car? It’s a recurring dream of mine and it apparently signifies the feeling of having lost control in your life. I’ve had that dream a lot these past two weeks. Ever since that morning where I pulled on my office garb and proper shoes, leaving the jeans and converse of maternity leave behind me. Back to the grindstone. Back to a job I have no love for but simply have to hold onto out of necessity.
It’s been an emotional time-Mini Mini has been extremely unsettled and any notion of the carefully constructed routine that we had been working so hard to create has gone out the window-and none more so than this morning when I think about what I am missing. Not just my girlies, but today is Mini’s Little Owls end of term party. I usually try and avoid clichés and stereotypical attitudes but the God’s honest truth is that little kiddies with Down syndrome tend to be adorable. And a whole bunch of them squealing with delight at being let loose in an indoor play centre even more so!
So here we are, two weeks into the Great Return of 2014 and I’m struggling. Mini Mini is still treating us to some unwanted nocturnal performances and so sometimes I feel like I’ve done the equivalent of a day’s work even before I get out the door in the mornings. And then in the evenings, I’m absolutely shattered and starting to slip in the daily requirement of keeping up with Mini’s extra speech and language and physiotherapy needs. She doesn’t really need them every day but I was making an effort to do at least a few minutes of each every day. All of this is with the assistance of our au pair extraordinaire-Tata-the Frenchman’s sister over for the summer. I don’t know how we’ll manage when she goes back home in a few short weeks. The Frenchman continues to work mental hours and any request I make for a reduction in my own working hours is met with the stock answer “we are unable to fulfil your request at this time.” Yes, that’s a verbatim sentence from my line manager.
And then there’s just the oddness of it all-it doesn’t feel right to be away from them all day. Don’t get me wrong it’s great to get a little adult time where the conversation doesn’t revolve around Peppa Pig and I don’t have to keep checking my shoulder for some snotty snail trails or sneaky puke stains but fulltime hours are just that. Full time. Full on. I leave early in the morning when they are still sleepy and not fully there. I come back in the evening when their best hours are behind them. Any impromptu singing or dancing from Mini or any dirty giggles from Mini Mini seem to have lost their sheen by the time I come through the door.
I feel like I really shouldn’t complain as I know I have it a lot easier than other parents do. I have a ridiculously tiny commute-5 minutes with traffic!-and I get to occasionally come home to see them at lunch but I’m finding the hours I’m away from my minis are the longest ever.
For me it’s the new holy grail only more elusive-it’s the work life balance. It’s all I can think of right now. I’m not sure what the answer is for our little family but I’m pretty sure this isn’t it.
My friend called me “super mum” this week when he came to visit us.I don’t want to be super mum,I just want to be mum again.