Mums: To what do you compare your life?
I sometimes think of my life as a champagne fountain.
And, while I’d like to imagine that means it’s glamorous, sparkling and pleasurable, the reality has nothing to do with fun and everything to do with the balancing act that’s required to stop the whole precarious creation from toppling.
I pack so much into my days, from 6am to 10pm, that there’s not a lot of room for leeway. Take out a glass in the middle of the fountain – in other words, sabotage a 12pm appointment by turning up 10 minutes late – and the whole day topples like dominoes.
Those women (and I know a few), who, when you ask them what they’ve got planned for the day, say “Oh, I might go back to bed after the school run”, or “Maybe I’ll download some more games on the iPad” – those women? We are a different species.
But other mums I know liken their lives to spinning plates on sticks – dashing from one stick to another to stop the whole lot from crashing down. I understand that because I once had it, but I don’t really feel it since I stopped working full-time.
Other days I see myself as a swan, gliding gracefully along a river with my head held high, but paddling like mad underwater where no-one can see that my little yellow legs are struggling against the current (do swans pant? I’ve been known to pant).
And on really bad days I see myself as a tiny little spider trying desperately to climb the inside wall of a wet highball tumbler; forever sliding back down to the bottom just before I reach the rim. But, to be honest, that only really happens on the days when I’m trying to have a civil conversation with our bank .