Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mammy Dearest

THIS TIME last week I was off work for a week's holiday and
experiencing just exactly how the other half live.

By the other half, I am of course referring to those mammies who don't have to drag themselves and their wains out of bed at 7.30 each morning to ensure they arrive in work somewhere in the vague vicinity of 9am.
To use the lingo, they are Stay At Home Mums (SAHMs) and by my reckoning they've got a pretty good deal going.
Yes, I'm all for work (not least because without it I would be
destitute and living out of a doorway in Ferryquay Street), but there is something quite enjoyable about being a full-time bonafide mammy.
Usually I'm a pretty stressed out mother, having that moment of guilt each morning when I leave Joseph off with the childminder and feeling that mixture of joy and dread when I see him again in the evening.
(I'm delighted to see him, don't get me wrong, but sometimes I'm so tired, so caught up in what needs to be done around the house that I can't fully enjoy him).
To have the time to be there for him is a novelty I still quite enjoy and our week together was like something out of a "How to be a Happy Family" guide book. The wee man and myself used the time to get creative in the kitchen. First of all we decided to bake cookies. However, having quickly ascertained that every ingredient in my baking cupboard was past it's sell by date, we opted to make salt dough instead.
Sure, my kitchen looked like an explosion in a cocaine factory by the time we were done but we had such a giggle mixing the flour, salt and water and cutting moon shapes out of the rolled out dough.
By the next day I'd been organised enough to go to Tesco and restock the cupboard so we got to make cookies for real. Yes, I'm pretty sure Joseph ate most of the chocolate chips before they went in the cookie mix, but again as we iced our decorations I felt deeply contented.
The same feelings flooded over me when we played together at Parent and Toddler Group and Jo Jingles. When the Jo Jingles lady (the lovely Doreen) commented on Joseph's impeccable manners, I was proud as punch- even though I know his manners are probably more down to my aunt Stella who minds him for me rather than my own sense of decorum.
Outside of such quality time with my son, being a Stay At Home Mammy for a week meant that another unheard of phenomenon occurred Chez Moi.
Our house was both clean AND tidy. At the same time. And there wasn't even a blue moon in the sky nor sight of a flying pig overhead.

Spit spot
I had the time, and energy to keep everything spit spot and ship shape and I did feel exceptionally smug about the whole thing. As I stood, hands in the sink washing the dishes, watching 'Loose Women' I decided this was indeed was life was all about. Yep, you could keep your tailored work wear and business lunches- this was miles better.
Of course, I was living in a blissed out bubble. It wasn't all perfect. My attempts at potty training bordered on the disastrous. (I'll not go into detail, suffice to say at one stage every cushion cover on my two sofas was whirring around in the machine while I Febreezed anything that sat still for more than two seconds).
Our trip for a walk along the beach ended in near disaster when Joseph decided that, forget about the sub zero temperatures, a dip in the water (fully clothed) would be a great idea.
And I found that come the evenings I was too tired to apply any mental energy to anything. Where usually I come home from work needing some writing or reading time to wind down, I found that last week when Joseph finally succumbed in to sleep (after a new bedtime routine
involving three readings of a Fimble Book, some lullaby singing, and a who's who of children's TV as part of our 'God Blesses') I wanted to follow suit immediately. I became totally incapable of forming a coherent sentence after 8pm.
Despite these minor hiccups it was a fabulous week and despite my tiredness and the general melting of my brain, I was rewarded with more cuddles than you can shake a stick at it and a million declarations of 'I love you mammy'.
So it was with a slightly heavy heart that I returned to the world of work on Monday morning. Thankfully Joseph seemed none the wiser and skipped into Stella's house with a smile on his face. In fact as we sat to play on the floor he turned to me with a cheeky grin and said:
"Mammy, you go to the Derry Journal now." It was more an order than a statement of fact and I of course did what I was told.
But I'll admit I've already started thinking about my next week off and what adventures the two of us can get up too. Papier Mache Christmas decorations anyone?

1 comment:

Luisa said...

I know exactly what you mean, Claire. I have a combination of the two lives, and there are defnitely ups and downs to both of them. I've never had a tidy house, though...

Have fun with your lovely little boy!

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