“Enjoy Sydney,” I said tersely, and I did mean it; it’s just that I wished I was going too. Like I do nearly every time my DH goes on a trip.
Yes, I can be a jealous wife – and it’s a horrid, energy-sapping emotion that I wish I could banish. And, I’m going to be completely uncensored here: it gets worse when you have children. And they’re dangling off you like deranged Christmas ornaments and depending on you for everything.
It was probably just a bad day, but my boys were awful today. AWFUL. I woke up with a small knot of dread in my stomach. I knew the morning would bring with it dark forces: the battle over homework. Getting my youngest to sit down at his wordlist is like trying to trap a will-o’-the-wisp. The older one is in cahoots and just as bad.
But, actually, the homework went OK; it was later in the day that I plummeted into the doldrums. Son2 bailed on a class he’d previously begged me to pay up-front for by screaming all the way there. His punishment – not being allowed to see a friend he’d already spent all morning with – caused his tantrums to crescendo, becoming a punishment for us too, and my equally strong-headed Son1 made a big scene about something else.
By dinnertime, my nerves were frayed, and the work I was meant to be completing still wasn’t done. When DH, nervously, asked what we were doing for dinner, I lost it. “They won’t eat anything I make anyway,” I raged, referring to a lasagna I’d cooked the other night (containing mushrooms) that had actually made Son1 vomit at the table. “Food I’ve spent ages preparing just gets thrown back at me!”
So I wasn’t in the best frame of mind when I wished my beloved (who does so much for us at home) a good trip as he went to bed at 6pm. I might even have told him he was lucky, and that I wished I could get away. If I’m honest, it’s not the layover in Sydney I’m jealous of (although it is one of my favourite cities); it’s the minutiae of everyday life and the juggling I want a break from.
“Have you seen the state of our cat?” DH asked the other day. “She really needs a bath.” “Look at Son1’s fingernails. You really need to cut them.” Then get the nail clippers. I’m pretty sure you can cut nails too.
Then there’s the Rasputin ants in the kitchen; the two-tonne grocery runs to feed ravenous boys on top of full-time work in media; the fact they’re getting up at 5.30am to play on the Xbox and are like grisly, overtired bears when I put them to bed – not to mention the never-ending logistics of the car pool I’m indebted to because I can’t get Son2 home from school when I’m at the office.
And don’t get me started about the school projects my older son can’t do himself, that last week saw me up until midnight making a beard for an Ernest Shackleton costume. (When do the costumes end?) I can’t be the only working mum who spends lunchtimes sneakily printing pages off the office printer when the bosses aren’t looking?
If there are any men reading this who want to know what a woman’s mind is like, imagine a browser with 2,671 tabs open.
I’ll feel better in the morning, when I’ve laid the green-eye monster to rest and am getting on with everything – because all this stuff, it’s just life, isn’t it? And it’s nearly the end of term.