Monday, 20 April 2009

time out

A couple of people have asked me how I manage to write this account of 21st century motherhood every week, considering the amount of wordage I give to how demanding it is in time and energy. I can see their point.

Ironic huh. She bangs on about having sacrificed herself on the altar of motherhood, and there she is, examining her own soul for the edification of you lot, week after week.

Well here is how it goes. The Engineer and I have a deal whereby he takes Snooks for a couple of hours each Saturday morning while I pretend not to be there. When we made this bargain (his side is quality time with Snooks) I had intended to spend the time lying in bed, gazing out of the window. This seemed the most pleasurable activity I could conceive of; the luxury to simply daydream.

Then other possibilities sprung to mind. I could start running again. I could have a weekly manicure. I could read the newspaper with a coffee in a cool café down the road.

But for some reason, when the first morning of freedom arrived, instead of seizing the chance to indulge in any of the above, I reached for my ancient laptop, which was lying under the bed like an old redundant toy, and started to write about life in Snooksville. And once I had been there, I felt compelled to return week after week.

The gift of time to dwell inside my own head for a while is a very precious one and although it does nothing for the external condition (still hankering after the running and manicures) it undoubtedly soothes and flexes the internal one.

Someone offered that a further use for my musings is the record it will provide for Snooks of his first year, or more accurately of my state of mind in his first year.

After the Julie Myerson debacle, however, I have become more circumspect about Snooks’ dignity. He may only be 13 months old, but he has a right to some consideration about what he may and may not want to be public knowledge in future.

I, on the other hand, can choose to splurge away about myself, willy nilly and live with the consequences.

So here I am, and today I am actually sitting outside the cool cafe having a coffee as the Saturday morning deal looked dangerously close to coming off the rails and a hasty exit seemed the best plan.

I joined a Pilates class recently and the teacher asked if I ever had time to myself. She mentioned Saturday mornings.
It seems we have joined a long tradition of time-out for
mums on Saturdays where there is a willing dad on hand to take over.

The Engineer was willing and the boys take off together into ManLand, constructing things and taking them apart again, hanging out in the park I avoid because it has a noisy road nearby (this being its best boy selling point apparently - those sirens get them every time) and playing with off-cuts of wood.

I retreat behind the bedroom door, and most weeks, I succeed in the illusion that I have time-travelled into another world, resisting the urge to investigate the occasional yelp from Snooks as his new Ride On (until last week this was simply the title of a Christy Moore song to me) collides with another unexpected obstacle, or to open the door in response to the drumming of his little fists on it.

On my way to the café this morning, at 8.30am, I passed a weary looking mum with a toddling boy. She was smoking and explaining to him that ‘daddy had to work.’ The little boy looked upset and the mum looked like she had last night’s clothes on.

I watched Snooks at the dinner table the other night as he looked from his father to me, and back again, beaming with delight.

I think he is a lucky boy.

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