Tuesday, October 23, 2012


So my day started out like this.  (This post comes with a foul language warning. If offended by the 'f' word please don't read on.) 

At about 4.30am, Sophie was in our bed. That is not unusual.  But this time her chesty-coughing drove me out of the marital bed and into her flower-clad, second hand from the op-shop single mattress that supports her little frame a lot better than mine. Two thoughts passed through my head as I stumbled passed the clock. The first was "Good, still a couple of hours before I have to get up" and the second was a hopeful question sent out into the ether "Soph will be alright for school tomorrow, won't she?"

Out of bed at 7ish and the getting-ready-for school shenanigans went fairly smoothly. Except when the Luthier pulled Sacha's lunchbox out of his bag and realised that, once again, he hadn't eaten any of it. A fairly ugly scene of frustration and denial ensued.   Threats were made and notes written in diaries to bring the issue to the teacher's attention. Bloody kids.

Right. Breakfast had and boys dressed, but where's Sophie? Dad went in to persuade her out of bed. A pale and coughing small person appeared. "Mum, I don't wanna go to school."

"She'll be alright, won't she?" I whisper to the ether again. And continue in internal monologue, "I wonder if I have any leave left? Jesus, work already thinks I'm a dodgy option from all the time I've had off with illness, the kids and my own. And Phil can't lose any more work time. His jobs are piling up and we are going to go broke if he doesn't get some work finished soon. But the poor little mite, she's only just five and she shouldn't have to go to school when she's sick.  I hate it when other parents send their kids to school coughing and snotty. She looks ok. She's just tired."

Sophie:"Mummy, I have a sore tummy."

Luthier: "No, you haven't."

Me, using the approach my father always used with me and I always loathed:"You'll be right once you get to school."

We are all in the car. Dressed in uniform. Bags packed with lunches and homework. I've remembered to put makeup and lipstick on and make my lunch. Yay!

We arrive. Fuck.
It's Grandparents day, I forgot to organise that with Mum and I bet she wanted to go.
Shit. Fuck. Shit.

Oh, well.
Me:"Out you get you lot, have a good day."
To myself, "She'll be fine."

Sophie in tears: "Mum, my tummy is really sore."

Shit. Alright then, she'll have to go and sit at the shop with Phil.  I drop her off and head to work.

I walk into work, feeling pleased that I had made it and hating it for making me compromise my family at the same time.

The phone rings and its the Junior School,
"Hey George, Josh has split his pants and is mortified. Its Grandparents' Day. What's Phil's mobile? We'll call him to come and sort him out."
 "Oh bugger." I say, keeping myself nice. "No, I'll have to come because I have the car and Phil has the motorbike and he has Sophie at the shop with him and she's sick. I'll be there in 15 minutes."

Shit. Shit. Shit.

My apologies are made at work and off I rush. Its always chaos in the morning, my job. Morning is my busiest time and they hate having to cover it when I am not there. What else can I do? Push that thought to one side and head to the Junior School. Pick up J, take him home for a quick pants change and back to school.

J: "Sorry, Mum. Sorry you had to leave work. Thanks Mum, you are the best Mum ever!"
Me: "That's alright, J. It's my job."

As I get back in the car I get a phone call from a friend, a mother, who is in tears as she has been offered full-time work and has little ones and doesn't know what to do. I want to scream into the phone "Don't fucking do it. Working any more than a couple of days a week in a very flexible job when you have small kids has big fat hairy knobs on it."  But I refrain.  I try and be reasonable. I hope I was reasonable.

Call from Phil. Sophie has toilet issues.

As said by Hugh Grant in the first line of one of my favourite movies, 'Four Weddings and A Funeral'

"Fuck. Fuck. Fuckity-Fuck."

I give up. I send the text to work that I won't be in after all, to which I get a very kind response but suspect I will pay for later. I really don't think I have any leave left.


I collect my daughter from her father who has a tiny shop full of 5 people and is trying to juggle the questions and the sick offspring.

"Come on Soph. " I say and hug her, bring her home and give her a bath.

Now that she is set up in front of ABC Kids, I am desperately racking my brains to magic up a more flexible way of earning money that does not involve sending sick smalls to school and being such an unreliable employee.  All offers or ideas will be most gratefully received.

And I am one of the lucky ones. I get most of the school holidays off work.

Work/life balance, my arse.


Michele said...

I have no magic answers love just empathy. Doing the same juggle here with my 7 year old missing more than half of term 3 and while we got off to a good start week one of term 4 last week she was off Thurs Fri, then a student free day monday and off again today

aaaaaaaargggggggggggh kids and parenting and work and ill health NOT a good combination

Hope your little one is all better soon and you DO have some leave miraculously remaining or some wonderful solution appears....let me in on it when it does hey!

Michele said...

PS I have seriously (semi seriously) been googling au pair progams wondering if thats the answer???

Mrs Smith said...

I think an au pair would be great, I think my problem is that I want to be the au pair. I really want to stay at home with my kids. To work from home. If I had been clever I would have set this up for myself when I was at home, then I wouldn't have this issue, well, not to the same extent.

Learning all this the hard way, as usual.
If I have any brain waves, I'll definitely let you know.

Fer said...

Oh no, I really feel for you, and I'm sorry I don't have any advice either. :-( I just keep thinking of that quote (was it Shakespeare?) "this too, shall pass...", we just have to keep looking out for that light at the end of the tunnel. xoxo

Emma said...

It's tough isn't it, if you stay at home there's less money coming in, but maybe you and the kids would be happier. You sound like a pretty talented lady - have a good think about your talents and if you could do something from home that would make money. Buying hand made and locally grown is so popular now - there must be a niche you could fill!

Mrs Smith said...

You are right, of course, Fer. It will pass. I have to face the fact that I want to work from home and try and sort it out. Nothing a whole lot of hard work and a sense of humour won't fix, like everything!

Mrs Smith said...

Thanks Emma, the truth is that is just what I want. I'm not a crafter's arsehole really, but there must be something I can do. I'm a bloody good project/admin-y type. There must be a way of doing that from home. I found that airtasker web site today, maybe I'll become a freelance administrator.

Mrs Smith said...

You sound like you've had a very bad run. I hope your little one is better. We have all been majorly struck down with nasty bugs this winter, except Sach, he always remains weirdly well for someone who never eats his lunch. I think the stress of juggling work has got the better of us. Fired largely by my continuing dissatisfaction with it as having knobs on.
Thanks for your kindness.

Anonymous said...

George, we are having same crazy dramas on the side of the bass strait. Add in a restructure at work, a house renovation, living with the parents ...argh!!! Jac

Rachael @Mogantosh said...

Some days just have big hairy knobs on them. I hope tomorrow is better. And if I have any freelance admin type job brainwaves I shall let you know. xx Rach

One Flew Over said...

I feel your pain x

When I find the answer, I shall let you know...but if you find it first...let me know!

Lots of love xx

Loz and Dinny said...

As I said before I even knew you had written this... Artificial colouring on the icing on the shit cake, that be me! Add multitasking to your resume and stick that example in the damn tedious selection criteria malarky. Let's run away and open a shop to sell cushions xxx

Mrs Smith said...

Oh Jac, I don't even know how you are dealing all that at the seme time. Talk about pressure, Bloody Nora! Lots of love to you and Trinks and your beautiful smalls.

Mrs Smith said...

I do like cushions.

Emma said...

I'll make the cushions and you can sell them!

Tanya Murray said...

I think you need to ask for help more. I have Tues and Thurs off. I don't mind if you need to call with an emergency. I'll bet there are others who feel the same. Everyone needs a soft place to fall.