It was always just a matter of time.
18 months on from the post I published on Mum Guilt as a stay at home Mum and seven months deep in the return to work, and this past week the Mum guilt round two ; ‘Working Mum’ hit like a sledgehammer.
Was it the last week of term mayhem? The killer first half term of big school for the mouse who has felt every inch of the change? The multiple balls I dropped and only swiftly caught on the bounce with the help of some school Mums whose help has become invaluable now my brain is half here, half there and mostly nowhere?
Can I blame the darker mornings? Which had arrived out of nowhere and made our out -the-door by 7.10am routine seem like mission impossible. The duvets pulled over the kids heads as they cry that it’s too early to get up, whilst my core temperature is rising with every minute closer to the time we need to be gone by?
Or was it the run up to half term and the need to scrape together the dregs of annual leave and begged stolen or borrowed childcare to get through the last two week half term of the year?
Was it the first proper panic moment when the Mouse seemed poorly? When we had just twenty minutes to assess her school suitability illness rating; on the edge of going down with something but well enough to make it through a day at school? Perhaps the crunch moment was when I collected her all doe eyed and sleepy from the childminder who pointed out she really wasn’t 100%.
Did I feel crap or what, when it was Dad Muddling Through who had to take an emergency work from home day, when I left the house in the dark to get to London for nine a.m., unable to wriggle out of a commitment made months ago. And even more so when his technology failed and the Mouse made a miraculous recovery and chose her moment to demonstrate this by bouncing off the walls whilst he was on his afternoon calls.
The salt was rubbed into the wound when we realised getting Tigs to the school gym squad she has dreamed of joining since reception may now be nearly impossible because of the days and timings of the sessions. And now she is in juniors, every door of opportunity for extra curricular clubs has been flung open, only to be slammed shut again, because now, Mummy works those days I’m afraid pickle.
It’s been a tough couple of weeks. Half term was welcomed with both arms wide open and we are all soaking up the pause and calm before the manic Christmas term, which will no doubt be laden with school concert / disco / PTA event guilt along with the inevitable winter coughs colds and temperatures that could throw our best laid plans into meltdown. We know it’s coming, and we are bracing ourselves.
But we’re wading through the guilt ridden times, knowing that this is the better of two evils. And let’s face it, as I already know, Mum guilt does not exclude, and whether you are out at work, part time, stay at home or work at home Mum, it’s always lurking ready to take you down if you let it.
We’ll just keep on, muddling through one day at a time. And we’ll get there.