So it's been a while since my last blog, and trust me when I say it's been hurting me. I love this stuff. But the phrase 'too busy to even scratch myself' has never been more true. I am technically working a mere three days a week. Practically a walk in the park right? Wrong. With three small children and a 40km drive to work, I am feeling the pinch. I have reached breaking point and something has to (eventually) give.
So tell me then, why I felt like an absolute cretin when a student recently spied me practically inhaling a 'V' energy drink? Why did I feel the need to hide this apparently awesome sin? Is it a sin, I wonder, to crave, nay, depend heavily upon, a double hit of gaurana and taurine to see me through the last 6 hours of my day?
Three days a week keeps me pretty busy. Okay, I'm lying. Three days leaves me feeling like a zombie from Night of the Living Dead. (Even more than usual - this also explains my increasing dependancy on energy drinks). This will be the norm for the remainder of the year. I am slightly nervous about the stress of it all. Not because of the work part, but because of the rest of my life. Let me take you through "a day in the life of me (when I work)."
Because of my lovely, darling children. I am usually woken between 5:30am and 6:00am. This is an improvement. We used to be woken around 5:00am. If I am lucky, I will listen to Sam calling "Good morning Mumma! Come and get me!" And if I am not so lucky, I will hear the heavy THUMP THUMP THUMP of Olivia, Darcy and Sam racing into our room, crying and shouting about who is going to lie next to Mum and who is going to lie next to Dad. Either way, I fly out of bed (always 1/2 an hour earlier than I would like to) and deal with whoever is crying the most, first. Usually this is my baby, Sam.
I change Sam's nappy. Fighting off his protest (a barrage of kicks and twists and turns), I pin him to the change table and force him into a new nappy. He is already happier, and I take this moment to dress him. It's at this point I start screaming like a banshee for Olivia to get her school uniform on, and Darcy to get dressed for Kindy.
Olivia drags herself... ever...so... sloooowwwwwllllllllllllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy back to her room and puts on her school shirt and shorts. Darcy is never far behind, and as I put Sam back onto the floor, I try to open Darcy's cupboard (and hope and pray that she hasn't thrown everything in and slammed it shut - in which case it will all come tumbling out again) and find something for her to wear for the day. I take out the first outfit.
"NOOO!!!!! Not that one! I don't want to wear a skirt!" (As I throw it back in and pull out some jeans.)
"NOOOO!!!! I HATE those jeans!" (Back, try again with shorts...)
"MUM!!!! I want to wear a dress!" (Strike three.)
"OK," I say,"a dress it is, and so help me God, if you don't just put it on, I think I am going to flip out!" And then as I rush to pull out a pair of socks for Olivia, Darcy is at my feet, "Help me put my undies on!" And then Sam is at my feet...
I'm hoping and praying that Charlie is already out of bed, dressed and in the kitchen, preparing breakfast. If not, I then turn my screaming banshee voice towards him.
"PLEASE start getting the kids breakfast sweety! I am rushed off my feet!"
I fly into the kitchen. Everyone is dressed (except for me), and huddled around Dad.
Olivia: Can I have porridge please? No sugar, lots of milk. Not too hot.
Darcy: Can I please have muesli and cornflakes, mixed together. Cornflakes on top, lots of milk. Not one of those baby spoons Dad!
Sam: Toast Daddy! Toast!
Darcy: I change my mind. Can I have porridge too? Honey and sugar.
Me: Right - is everyone good? Good! I'm going to get dressed.
Then it's a quick dash back to my room. I splash my face with water, removing the sleep from my eyes and brushing my hair. On a good day, I will already have laid out the clothes I am planning on wearing for the day. Excellent. On any other day, I start digging through my wardrobe for a weather appropriate piece. Mostly these days nothing seems to fit. I'm at that lovely 'in between' size, and I am certainly not complaining about where I am, but it would just be nice to fit something (ANYTHING) either way. I am dressed now, and still loathing myself in whatever I am wearing. I fight back tears just long enough to apply a small amount of makeup. Surely that will make me feel better. But no. It just makes everything worse. I remember once upon a time reading that 'as you get older, your skin begins to lose its elasticity.' I know what that means now. But sadly I am at that age where I am old enough to understand that fact, but not old enough to have embraced it.
I make it back to the kitchen in time to catch a bowl of cereal about to land on the floor. I do a quick dishwasher pack and bench clear, and then hurry everyone into the bathroom where there is a cacophony of voices, screams, toothbrushes flailing wildly in (hopefully) little mouths, water being turned on and turned off, and the repetitive sound of a hairbrush pulling through a child's hair. Hopefully we can scrounge around long enough to find some hair ties lying around somewhere.
I make a quick dash back to the kitchen as the children try to locate a pair of matching shoes. There is that terrifying moment of eerie silence as I run through the mental checklist of what needs to be done this morning.
1. Children: up, dressed, fed, hair and teeth done, shoes on, lunches in bags, homework completed and packed, library/sports bag packed, notes/money due packed, school hats packed... dear God, please let that be all.
As I sweep my hair up into a quick and easy kind-of ponytail, I run through my own list...
2. Dressed, makeup, hair, teeth, school 'stuff', handbag, lunch, purse, glasses, hat, phone... food (no time), dear God, please let THAT be all.
3. House: Is the dishwasher packed and is all food off the table? Check. Are there any jobs/shopping that need to be done in town today? Is a load of washing in? Is there fuel in the car? Do I have any classroom resources I will need at school today?
My head is literally swimming with the routine of morning chaos. This lasts until I have rounded up two of my three children (playing somewhere around the house by this stage), and am safely inside the vehicle, all children belted in tightly, 2-way turned on, phone plugged in, ready... and then I spend the 30 minute drive into town worrying about what I have forgotten.
My youngest stays at home with Sara (our au pair), who is actually a tremendous help. Sara is here so that I can actually go to work (there is no child care or day care facility in our town). Whilst Sara helps keep the house tidy, it's amazing how much damage three children can do to a clean house when they put their minds to it.
The school day itself is actually the calmest part of my day. I enjoy (in varying degrees) the six or so hours I am there immensely.
The drive home is filled with tales of how everyone's day was. What they did and didn't eat, what the best/worst bit of the day was. And then we alternate between practicing sight words and times tables, and listening and singing along to our favourite songs on the iPod. (But mostly just 'Who Let The Dogs Out' over and over again!)
Ultimately, I spend my four 'days off' cleaning and babysitting and trying to plan for school. Currently there is no such thing as 'me time.' That is also a lie. Somehow, I find time to throw myself into an episode of True Blood every now and then. I'm still trying to discern whether or not this is because I can totally relate to their 'living dead' exterior, or the fact that it is as far removed from my current state of existence that I find it mind-numbingly beautful?... hmmm.
Anyway. It's only with a full (double shot) can of 'V' that I am even remotely capable of facing the last six hours of my day. And I refuse to feel guilty about that.
I don't know how working mothers do this. But they certainly deserve a medal for it. Or at least a can of 'V' without feeling guilty.