So the other day l was driving back from seeing a friend l usually see at least once a week in a town l have visited hundreds of times when l realised l’d driven five miles past the turning for our village.
l have no idea how this happened. lt could have been partly down to the fact l was belting out Taylor Swift at the top of my lungs in a bid to stop the two year old falling asleep (and thus jeopardising his precious two hour lunch time nap) or thinking about how long l would last on the 5:2 diet. But l think l was mostly just having one of those spaced out days that have become alarmingly common since l became a mum. Earlier that morning, l’d tried to give my six year old his baby sister’s dummy and given her his school bag. She is 10 months old! What was l thinking?!
Please tell me l’m not the only one who has days like this? Who goes out to buy lightbulbs and comes back with handwash, wine, a door mat and milk instead. Who walks into a room to get something and promptly forgets what l’ve gone in there for. Who asks someone the same question twice (sometimes three times) in a row mid-conversation because l can’t remember what they said the first time. (Yet l can remember pretty much every detail about my childhood bedroom and the songs that came out in my first year at uni somewhat bizarrely.)
l, for one, didn’t used to be this way. l have always had a slight tendency to be a bit mindless at times but who doesn’t? Pre children, l generally held it pretty together: I had a well-paid job at a major publishing house in London. l interviewed CEOs and government ministers. l remembered friend’s birthdays and sent thank you cards. l always called people back.
But, l have to ask, what happens when parents like me are having one of those spaced out days when we can’t really function all that well? How is it possible to say, go do a high-flying job on only a few hours sleep and brain that doesn’t quite want to play ball?
The legendary City ‘superwoman’ Helena Morrisey who has nine children (nine!!) between the ages of 6-23, manages over £50bn of assets each day but (allegedly) still gets home in time to do the ironing, for one.
And, is it the same for men – fathers who get up in the night to look after a small baby before going off to work in a proper job? Or does this depravation affect stay-at-home dads so that they also feel slightly, erm, useless when it comes to using their brain?
l know women like Sheryl Sandberg are telling us to Lean In. But I know that the number of mindless days l have has gone up significantly since l had my three amazing and exhausting children and, on such days, l feel hugely grateful l don’t have a high powered and demanding job to go to.
Hats off to anyone who mixes both together and triumphs. Tell me your secret…
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