I was discussing with a fellow author how housework, sleep and similar incidentals get in the way of important things like writing. She commented a SuperMum would even have time to rescue kittens, which inspired me to write this story.
It was hard work being a Wonder Mum. Although I knew I was good at my admin job, when I first became pregnant it was a whole new ballgame. True to my nature I researched baby books, made lists, set up spreadsheets and thought I was prepared for the big day. All it needed was a bit of organisation and keeping to the rules for everything to run smoothly.
Er.. wrong! My weekly diary was set up with housework day, social/friends day, pampering day and romance/husband day. Unfortunately babies can’t read.
I knew from the books that it was important to bond with baby, and reading to them at an early age was good for their development. None of the experts had factored in that babies don’t only poop on a Monday, or that they are awake at silly o’clock demanding attention when you are too tired to even remember your own name.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my husband and knew what it was like to get home after a hard day’s work, when it was cold and miserable out, and the train had been cancelled due to ‘adverse weather conditions’ or some such crap. I’d been there, done that and got the organic, veggie, baby-goop stained T-shirt to prove it.
I understood the frustrations of office politics, and the back-stabbing at every promotion from those you had believed to be friends. Promotion brought jealousy, and your own boss was happy to throw the ‘we need to downsize, sort out who to sack’ problems onto your shoulders. That way he could remain impartial and make you the scapegoat.
How could those problems compete with ‘the baby slept for an hour’ or ‘I think he’s been fractious as he has a tooth coming through?’ The grown up worries of ‘If we can get that contract our cashflow problems will be solved, and we can resist the take-over’ can’t compete with ‘He burped then smiled at me today.’
I used to be intelligent. I had vowed never to be like the boring Mums who had nothing to say unless it involved their precious little bundle. After a few months of having no-one to talk to but the baby, I realised how easy it is to slip into that mind-set. When you are out and about you see the trends, hear about the latest books, go to the film premiers, experience the food at the newest restaurants, and can voice your personal judgement with confidence.
Day time television and social media help, but you realise you know more about the dress worn at the Oscars than how Brexit will affect the Euro exchange rate.
Instead of the vibrant, sexy woman he fell in love with I’ve become a whinging, boring housewife, the one thing I vowed I would never become. He can’t understand why I only want to sleep when he’s in the mood.
‘You used to be as keen as me, even when you’d been working. Now you’re always tired from just sitting at home all day.’
What have I actually done today?
I haven’t sweet-talked that supplier into giving us a massive discount. I haven’t provided all the stats to impress the new client into giving us his business. I haven’t argued with the Inland Revenue about our VAT returns and convinced them to give us a major refund. I haven’t finished my novel to become a number one best seller and make me a celebrity.
The kitten I thought would be a good idea to install a love of animals in my offspring got stuck up a tree. With one eye on the baby I dragged the ladder out from the shed and reluctantly climbed up to rescue it. This was my moment of glory to be a hero and get my name in the local papers. Stretching out and trying to overcome my fear of heights, the little horror sneered before he made his own way down, leaving me trembling and stuck like an idiot. The baby crying for his feed finally gave me the confidence to descend and attend to the important things in life.
I had no explanation to his criticism of why I had got the ladder out in the first place, and why hadn’t I put back in the shed where it belonged. My response of being too tired and ‘it seemed a good idea at the time’ were greeted with the reasonable comment
‘Don’t you know cats climb trees and can get themselves down without your help.’
Why didn’t I use the brain I used to have when I was ‘me’ instead of just the mother?
I did actually get in the local paper. Well, sort of. Needing to escape the four walls before I went totally stir crazy, I bundled the baby into his push chair and walked to the local beauty spot to get some fresh air. The lapping of the water from the nearby river soothed my soul, and I determined to convince my husband we needed a holiday, even if I would be the one sorting out the logistics.
Lost in my daydream I registered the shouts and realised a car had ended up in the water. People were milling about but doing nothing constructive, just using their phones to post pictures on social media.
My ‘bossy-boots’ persona took over and I became the person I used to be.
‘You. Stop taking photos and dial 999 to get the fire brigade here to help.
‘Can anyone swim underwater? OK. Get in there and check out the situation.
‘Does anyone have a contact number for someone with a hoist or crane to pull the car out? OK. Get them here, NOW.
‘Meanwhile, let’s get some rope and see what we can do. MOVE people. There’s not much time if anyone’s trapped in there.’
The elderly man who had pressed the accelerator instead of the brake was taken to hospital, but thankfully was only shaken not stirred by his experience. As for me I finally felt as if I had contributed to the world at large instead of being a non-entity.
At last I had something interesting to tell hubbie when he came home.
‘That’s great. I’m pleased he’s OK but at his age he shouldn’t have been driving. I’ve got an important meeting tomorrow. Is my best blue shirt ready?’
‘Sorry. I still haven’t touched the ironing. Will the grey one do? ’
© Voinks February 2017