Monday, September 13, 2010


Well, the children are back at school, and the Bright-Eyed Boy has made the existential leap from junior to senior school with only the most minor of hiccups (slight panic over the PE kit, forgotten pack-up boxes or exercise books). We sit back feeling slightly smug.
I am trying very hard to get back into full academic mode after a summer of generally slacking off and reading pulp-fiction (see another of my blogs more books than sense) and not doing much in the way of intellectual stimulation. It's actually proving rather difficult, as I seem to have lost the thread of my thesis and spend some time scratching my head wondering what precisely I am trying to prove, and how am I going to go about it. I keep postponing getting really pitched in, convincing myself that a trip to the library is required (not really!), that a trip to town is neccessary (not at all!!), that I need to start a new blog (which I have and it's called I wish I was a better Catholic....hardly neccessary but something I felt I've wanted - nay, needed to do to prod my wilting faith). Even this post is by way of procrastination and deferral, convincing myself that it helps limber up the writing facility - which, actually, it does.
I'v got a couple of weeks to put down a couple of thousand words, so I'm feeling fairly optimistic about meeting the deadline, except I've noticed that stuff keeps getting in the way.
Daughter #3's fixed-brace has been fitted and has been the source of much discomfort to her. Not only that but the wires keep coming out of the little bracketty things and try as we might, the Husband and I just can't see to get them back in. In the two weeks that the damn things have been fitted, she has been back twice for minor repairs, which neccessitates her taking time out of school to walk to the orthodontist and back again. This week I can't factor it in as (ironically) I have to go to the dentist for a filling, which obviously carves a slice out of the working day.
The weekends seem to be a continuous stream of activity: the B-E Boy has football practice on Saturday mornings and Daughter #3 often goes rowing. It's the back end of the regatta season so two weeks on the trot, there are regattas to factor in, plus a foorball match for the Boy (if he gets picked, which sadly, is becoming less and less often, much to his upset). Daughter #2 has decided that she will entertain no other baby-sitter for the Bouncing Bubba, so I had to watch him on Friday afternoon while she popped to the doc's, and again on Saturday night when she and the Son-In-Law went out to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. They all arrived chez nous rather early, just as we were just starting tea. Daughter #1 had just turned up from London (via Leeds) and was keen to discuss her ever-more complicated life. We'd only just got back from a tiring day getting soaked on the banks of the River Aire.
Unfortunately, the B-B decided to start grizzling as soon as his parents trotted off, so I was sitting there feeling totally frazzled, nursing him as he squirmed and moaned, and trying to converse matters of the heart (not simple) over a crescendo of 'mummymummymummydaddymummmy' and wondering whether I'd ever get any peace.

Somehow - and it may have been the extra glass of red wine - I woke up the next day feeling very, very sorry for myself indeed. I'd spent much of the previous week encouraging, servicing and minding....and the prospect for Sunday was pretty much more of the same: ensuring homework is done, laundry, feeding kids, keeping an eye on amorous teenagers....
And do you know, I'd had enough!
The National Antiquarian Bookfair had been at the racecourse from Friday 12 noon to Saturday 5pm. I'd been really keen to go - I love old books and a colleague of mine had told me it was a good opportunity to see some outstanding stuff: the postcard advert had been on my desk a while. But what with the child-minding and regatta attendance, I never got the chance. It felt so unfair - I'd been bending over backwards to accommodate other people and felt I'd been trampled underfoot without so much as a thought - the one thing I had wanted to do, for myself, - a once a year opportunity - had come and gone. I lapsed into self-pitying tears and wailed that I felt like some sort of facilitation-bot. the Husband sprang out of bed in consternation and said that if he'd known, he would have taken the girl to the regatta and I could have gone to the fair. But, as I pointed out to him, that would have made me look like a prize twat. It's a sad fact that not only do you have to do the parenting bit, but you're supposed to look like you're enjoying it too!
I just feel somewhat down at the moment. I work as hard as I can on this thesis (present half-hour excepted) and it brings in as much money (thanks to my funding) as a pretty well-paid part-time job. I also do most of the laundry, washing and cooking (because I'm here on site, so to speak, and it would be curmudgeonly not to) and act as chief child-co-ordinator, motivator, and PA. But what I do seems to counted as 'just what Mum does' and can be interrupted ad libitem to bring in lost jumpers, arrange dental appointments, taxi and baby-sit. Not only that, but any notion of time-out is never rears its head.
The Husband has embarked on a training schedule to prepare him once again for the indoor rowing championships (fair enough), but that means many weekday evenings he is absent. If he's not at the gym, he's quite often away on site visits and home late.

I think the Husband was quite shocked, although he knows that I am a reluctant parent and don't thrive on a pure diet of parenting duties. He's far better at kenosis than I am, but then he's only had to deal with the childhood of two of the children. I spent the rest of the day feeling quite wretched, upset, distant and a bit mad. I don't deal well with stress. The only effect it had was the Husband was walking on eggshells, making eyes at the children and mouthing words like 'Your Mum's a bit upset', without saying why exactly that was the case. So now the children think that I'm some sort of nutter that gets wound up and tearful over nothing.
No, it's not nothing! I feel like I am being ridden over rough-shod and the riders are looking behind at my mangled psyche tell each other that Mother's not looking too good! I wonder why?

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