So I could start this post with 40-odd excuses as to why I haven’t blogged in ages. AGES. Like, proper ages. The last time I blogged, a lot of stuff had not happened in the world that has now very much happened. The Kim Kardashian/Kanye West love-in was just a twinkle in Twitter’s eye. Samantha Brick and that terrifying French marksman she’s married to had not been invented yet. The “Where’s Me Keys, Where’s Me Phone” man off Britain’s Got Talent had yet to make it to the heady fame heights of a Simon Cowell half-bored, half-irritated eye-roll and was probably still sat at home, working on his other, often overlooked track “I Was Sure I Had A Tenner In My Wallet. No. Wait. I Think I Used It To Buy That Pasty At Lunch” (sure, it’s not as catchy as his BGT follow-up but if you can get hold of a copy on eBay, I think it could become a collector’s item one day). Where was I? Excuses. Yeah, what’s the point? What is the point in my lame excuses for not writing? For one, all 40-odd of them would largely be variations of “I’ve been really busy” and seriously, when addressing a bunch of people who are also “really busy”, is that going to wash? Is it hell. Do you ever get that? Do you ever get people saying to you “you know, I am SO busy” and whilst on the outside you nod and sympathetically smile and make little mewing noises of “poor you, you need to take it easy”, inside you’re shouting “busy? BUSY? Oh, you’re busy are you? BOO HOO, poor you, you can’t possibly be THAT busy because look at you, you’ve managed to find time to put mascara on both sets of lashes. BOTH. That kind of luxury I could only dream of. Not that I do dream, obviously, because I am so busy, I can only sleep in 30-minute, dream-free stints. Do you have any clue what busy means? I’m SO MUCH BUSIER THAN YOU”. Do you get that? Do you sometimes (always) genuinely believe you’re the busiest person EVER? Or the tiredest? No? Are you still reading? Shall I get my coat?
Um yeah. YEAH. Anyway. Busy. Working working working. Things are still going well. I’m enjoying the job and feel like my kids, husband and I have settled ok into the new routine. There are still moments when the big, dirty guilt-bombs drop – usually when my son is asking me why I’m going to work AGAIN (but why mummy? Why? WhywhywhywhyWHY?) – and I suddenly find myself struck with an overwhelming panic that my selfish needs are effectively turning my children into woman-hating psychos, but the majority of the time, I successfully drop-kick these ‘am I doing the wrong thing?’ anxieties into oblivion – usually with some reminiscing about the good old days when I didn’t work and could often be found weeping over a pile of felt tip pens with their lids missing because my mental state was so screwed-up – and get on with it.
I won’t lie, having a job is tricky, but it’s not anywhere near as tricky as being with my children full-time and I’m pretty sure this was the right decision for me…much to the chagrin of some of the mums I know from round my way who seem genuinely disappointed when they ask me, again, how things are going and, again, I tell them things are going good. Take this conversation I had the other week:
How’s the job going?
Yeah, good thanks. I’m really enjoying it.
And how’s the commute?
Yeah, it’s fine. It doesn’t bother me to be honest, I quite enjoy it.
You must be tired though. Are you tired? It’s a long way to go. Are you tired?
Um, yes, I suppose but I’m always tired, working or not. Honestly, all in all, it’s going well thanks.
Well, the novelty will soon wear off I expect. I must say, going back to work isn’t something I’d consider doing just now, while the kids are so little.
And that was that. I was left stood there, feeling like a bit (a lot) of a twat while the mum in question sauntered off, smugly. Smug that she’d put me straight. Smug that she’d chucked some passive aggressive shit into the equation about me leaving my kids. Smug that she’d told me there’d be some point in the near future that the enjoyment of my job would wear off and I’d come to my wretched senses. Brilliant. BRILLIANT.
What a bitch.
Seriously, what a bitch. What a tactless, unnecessary thing to say. And of course, rather than taking the sensible route of shrugging off the comments, flicking the Vs at her as she drove off in her wanky car, and carrying on with just doing my own thing and not worrying too much about what other people (particularly people I hardly know and don’t especially want to know) think, I started to wind myself up about it all. Why are women sometimes so horrible to each other? Why do some feel this need to turn everything into a fricking contest over who’s doing the best in life? It drives me insane. This one time a while back, I was talking to one mum I knew (note the past tense) about food shopping (I know, I’m a right laugh, me) and happened to mention this farm shop I’d found that sold decent, cheap veg (stick with me on this one). It wasn’t fancy, it wasn’t organic, I wasn’t applauding their fucking globe artichokes and hand-foraged truffles – in short, I had no hidden agenda, I was just passing on what I thought was a nice little tip about somewhere that sold cheap spuds. Big wow. Do you know what she fired back with?
“I’m quite happy with Tesco, thanks. Lucky for me, I’m not a food-snob”
No word of a lie, that is what she said. Somewhere in between coming out of my mouth and being processed by her ears, my thrifty (albeit mind-numbingly dull) chit-chat had somehow become:
“oi, Tesco twatface, my veg is better than yours”.
I’m so over it. I’m so over this competition. Life as a mum is hard. In fact, life is hard – mum or no mum-stuff – full stop. Everybody in the world knows this – it’s an actual fact – yet so many women refuse to acknowledge this to one another. And, yeah, I know that really it’s a case of taking the moral high ground, shrugging off the idiots and only hanging out with the people who make you smile rather than those who make you seethe but still, I’d like to make a little plea for a break from the bitching. It’s ok, I’m don’t want to cuddles or anything, I’m way too anxious and uptight for physical contact with strangers, but still, a smile and a little shared, sympathetic nod towards the tough stuff in life can go a long way.
Failing that, be nice to me and I’ll tell you where you can get a good deal on Maris Pipers. Yeah? YEAH! Come here, let’s hug this out.