SAHM Going Crazy: 2013 365 Challenge #65

A fraction of the toys used before 9am

A fraction of the toys used before 9am

The kids had started and abandoned about half a dozen games by 9am this morning. I couldn’t keep up. I was a doctor’s patient, a builder, an applier of stickers, a mechanic and a referee. Eventually (I blame the broken night’s sleep) I said “Shall we watch Mr Tumble?” and put the TV on for an hour’s peace. As soon as the TV was switched off I was torn two ways again, trying to do Lego and Bob the Builder building, magic spells and phone conversations.

I’ve been up less than 2 hours and I’m an inch away from running up the garden screaming. There have already been tears! Some days as a SAHM (Stay At Home Mum) are about not falling apart entirely.

I never thought I’d say it but I really miss my job. I miss being useful and appreciated. I miss going for a pee by myself and having access to unlimited hot Costa coffee. I miss the days where I sat at my desk at 8am and didn’t look at the clock until 6pm because I was too busy. I miss meetings, debating marketing plans with adults (well, mostly adults. Sometimes my kids are more rational.) I miss producing reports and presentations and doing something different every day. I miss being listened to and getting to the end of a conversation without interruption. Mostly I miss ‘going to work’ and ‘going home’. Having boundaries between parts of my day, between being on duty and off duty. And of course I miss getting paid!

My Bob Builder boy fixing the stairs (because Daddy hasn't!)

Bob Builder boy fixing the stairs (because Daddy hasn’t!)

Oh well, we’re off to the Farm with any luck, to see some tiny lambs and maybe feed them a bottle of milk. The sun is shining (the tank is clean!) and we’ll all feel better for getting outside.

I just have to stop my son trying to fix the broken banister so I can get him out the door. Some days even that seems beyond my ability. I miss the days I could scoop them up and plonk them in the car seat and they didn’t answer back (and I never thought I’d miss those days! Just goes to show.)

Anyway, sorry for the rant. Normal happy super-mummy will resume soon.

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Claire huddled into the corner of the sofa and pushed her headphones deeper into her ears as a burst of laughter swirled around the room. Even the strident tones of the Red Hot Chili Peppers couldn’t drown out the excited chatter of forty teenagers; or at least the ones not plugged into iPhones, game machines and MP3 players.

In my day we played cards on school trips, or wrote postcards home. Or snogged in the corner. Well, not me, obviously.

She remembered the heavy plastic personal stereo she had owned as a child. The batteries would last one CD, maybe two if she was lucky and didn’t skip to her favourite song too often. For photos it was a 36-exp film, with each photo chosen and taken with care. Next to her on the sofa two girls were giggling over pictures on their smartphones. Judging by how long they’d been doing it they must have taken at least a hundred shots.

I think I’d prefer it if they were all snogging. At least it would be quieter and I could write my post in peace. Isn’t there meant to be a games room in this place? Why aren’t they all down there drinking illicit booze and having crafty fags out the window?

Now she thought about it they all looked far too keen and healthy for hormone-stuffed adolescents, as if they’d rather be dangling from a cliff face than swigging cider out of a 2-litre plastic bottle.

God I feel old.

Claire arched her back like a cat and shifted position. She cursed as her calf tightened and cramped. Twisting awkwardly to free her leg Claire leant forwards and pulled on her foot to stretch out the offending muscle. Her skin prickled as she sensed someone watching her. She looked up and her gaze jolted against the lake-blue eyes of a handsome lad of fifteen or sixteen. He seemed to be scrutinizing a point just below her chin. Claire looked down and realised the boy was staring straight down her cleavage.

Cheeky git. I’m practically old enough to be his mother.

The thought settled in her mind like silt, muddying her tranquil mood.

Oh crap, now I really do feel old.

She glared at the lad who merely chuckled and carried on ogling. Conscious of the heat flooding her cheeks Claire raised an eyebrow in censure then, with a calmness she didn’t feel, turned to gaze out the picture-window at the scenery. It was a magnificent view, framed by a multi-pane window with an arch at the centre. Apparently she could see Mam Tor, whatever that was. Certainly she could see distance and the hills pulled her mind free of the bustling room.

It had been a good day. She’d stopped by Holmfirth after leaving the hostel early, spending a nostalgic hour wandering through scenes from Last of the Summer Wine and remembering Sunday afternoons with Uncle Jim laughing loudly from his beaten-up leather chair. After that she drove to Edale hostel, tucked in at the foot of Kinder Scout. The woman who checked her in had convinced her to walk to the top.

When will I learn? Claire massaged her tight muscles and pulled her face down in a frown. It belied the sensation in her chest, which was closer to happiness than irritation. She tried to analyse the feeling, wondering where happy might have come from after the emotion of the week.

Maybe that’s it. It was nice to spend a day by myself. No one to wind me up or give me grief; no one judging me. Just me and a stupid hill, a few blisters and the wide blue sky.

Claire gave up writing her post. She slid the iPad down the sofa next to her and flicked the music onto something more soothing. Eyes closed against the late sun coming through the window she settled into her seat and drifted away.

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