As my sandals thudded on the pavement, smack smack SMACKING against the hot cobbles, a continuous monologue was droning round my skull. “WHY do I have to do it ALL THE TIME?” I huffed to myself, as I pushed the buggy down the hill, ignoring the chatter from my three year old.
The sweat trickled down my back and my cheeks grew redder by the minute. “It’s always ME!” I muttered, eyes squinting in anger as I turned the corner into the park.
I was cross. Scrap that – I was furious.
Having spent the morning working in my upstairs office, doing interviews, writing, sorting through accounts, I then came across an email from our financial adviser. It was about mortgage stuff, grown-up stuff, stuff that I have mainly been dealing with because the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine…. well, I’m not sure why I’ve been dealing with it to be honest.
Anyway, I came downstairs at midday to find my husband and daughter on the sofa, in their pyjamas, watching TV. With no food in the fridge and the butchers closing for the day in under an hour. I was not impressed.
Rather than saying exactly why I was so peeved, I simply got Frog dressed, wrote a shopping list and smack smack SMACKED my sandals down the hill to the shops.
We took a detour to the park and then a detour to an icecream shop so – of course – by the time I got to the butchers it was shut. As I trudged back up the hill, laden down with my wares from the grocery and local Co-Op, the internal monologue returned. “If he’d have done it THIS MORNING, the BLOODY BUTCHERS wouldn’t be SHUT!”
I set my jaw as I grappled with the buggy and didn’t greet my husband as I huffed my way into the kitchen. Instead, I went all silent and cross, daring him to guess what was up by the shape of my tense shoulders.
What an idiot.
Me, I mean. Not him.
Yes he probably should have gone to the shops. And yes, we have no clean washing. And yes, the shopping list wasn’t written. But maybe if – when I first came downstairs at midday – I’d have told him that there was no food and that he needed to get off his backside, then he’d have known why I was less than chirpy and gone off to the sodding shops himself.
That’s when it hit me. I have taken on the “mother = packhorse” mentality. Like a little pony trudging up a mountain, carrying a huge burden, I lift the weight of the family To Do list onto my back every morning.
Need a mortgage? I’ll sort it. Need some clean clothes? Consider it done. Need a shopping list? No problem. The basics of living as a family always seem to fall to me, along with the usual pressures of work. Added to that the fact it’s the summer holidays and there is no pre-school until September, I’m trying to be Super Mum as well as Super Wife. And it’s stupid.
The thing is, my husband hasn’t asked me to do any of these things. He’s more than happy to pull his weight and take on an equal role. Being a teacher, he’s on school holidays at the moment too, so it’s not like he doesn’t have time. But I haven’t let him. Rather than sitting down and saying, “Look, this isn’t working. I’m frazzled. You need to start noticing things more and doing stuff,” I just stomped on down the hill without even questioning why he’d been sitting on the sofa all morning.
Later, when we had our chat, he told me Frog had been up three times in the night but I hadn’t heard her, because I’d been fast asleep. He knew I was tired, so he’d got up with her and, as a result, was exhausted. Fair enough really.
Still, I’m now going to stop the instant “I’ll do it, I’ll sort it, leave it to me” attitude. In this house, mother no longer spells “packhorse”.
There may be no clean pants for a while.
Linking up to Ranty Friday at Mummy Barrow.