Ho Hum. Don’t know what’s wrong with me today. Could it be the tedium of endless tidying, sorting, washing, ironing, dishwasher emptying, dishwasher loading? Maybe, maybe not. I was ok first thing. Dropped the girls at the bus stop, as usual. Chatted to my friend, as usual. She was rather tight-lipped and sad. Not usual. She’s the one who’s always got her cheery face on, sorted and ready for work while I look pasty pale and tousled and absolutely Not Ready For My Day. It turned out she’s had a big row with her husband. He criticised the way she’d ironed his new shirt and even dared to suggest she’d ruined it. Funny isn’t it, when you don’t actually live with someone. I would never in a million years imagine him saying something like that to her. She says he’s Neanderthal about things like ironing and she always does it - and everything else around the house, despite also doing a paid job four days a week. She reckons he’s obviously not managing his stress levels well and is unleashing frustration on her. She’s probably right, but for now they’re not speaking. N’s always been rather good about ironing his shirts in fact. He doesn’t make too big a fuss if I’ve not got to it by the end of the day – and actively encourages me to take them to the dry cleaners. That was a good arrangement till they put their prices up and suddenly I felt I couldn’t justify it in quite the same way. And anyway, ironing gives me the excuse to watch crap TV and not to have to worry about anything else while still feeling I’m ‘getting on’. At least you see the fruits of your labours all neatly piled up in the laundry basket.
Not so with tidying – I can spend hours sorting through things and trying to re-organise only to stand up, look around and see more mess than I started with. Like a Tracy Emin still life. By which time, of course, I have no energy left to deal with it and have to walk away with another job half done. Ho hum.
Yes, it’s been that sort of day. Also very grey, which hasn’t helped. And cold. And windy. And the first proper day back into the school routine. Last week, you see, L was on half term and I was still in refreshed, rejuvenated, optimistic holiday mood after a great week’s skiing the week before (E and G’s half term). It was lovely cuddling up with L on the sofa like the old pre-school days and watching some old nonsense on the box like Peppa Pig and Big Cook Little Cook. We were inspired to go and make bean salad faces for lunch and I found myself flicking enthusiastically through the Kids’ Cookbook. We bought flour, eggs and Smarties to make cup cakes and concocted Cheat’s Pizzas out of muffins (toasting, not blueberry, I hasten to add). We went to the pottery café and painted fairies while slurping hot chocolate, then on to the Ice Cream Farm for lunch, where we engaged in some leering at small cute animals in sheds and did a nature walk. Oh, yes, and, of course, licked home-made ice cream. I even took her to the swimming pool and we had fun in the Jacuzzi and steam room – before I noticed it said no children under 16 allowed. Still, no-one seemed to mind. It was a lovely week and blessed mainly with sunshine to light up our days and lighten our mood.
When I dropped L at school this morning it seemed I hadn’t been there for weeks, not just absent for two. It was almost as if I’d drifted apart, left it all behind. I felt like I was watching the other mothers and fathers from a distance, not connecting with the normal routine, the chat and the children playing. It was dangerously close to how I felt in my dark days of depression. I just wanted to skulk in, smile sweetly, but get away again as quickly as I could. Mood. What a strange thing it is.