Monday, 31 March 2008

A working mum's dilemma

Last week we received the letter from our local authority offering daughter a place at our local primary school. Why is this a dilemma?

Well, I had assumed that daughter would go to into reception class at said school (where she already attends afternoon nursery), continue to go to fabulous chilminder (FC) who would drop daughter at school and collect her giving her continuity of care.

Silly, silly me for assuming. Circumstances change. FC now says that she can't take daughter to school as the other boy she cares for only arrives at 9.00am. Also, she wishes to go part-time soon with a view to retiring, so she wouldn't be providing continuous care for daughter during her primary years anyway.

So, sending daughter to local primary school would necessitate a change of childcare or abandon daughter in before and after school clubs (I know, I exaggerate, my neice loves hers). My working mum guilt is now in overdrive. My sister-in-law did say that being a working mum is easy until they go to school. She warned me!

However, there is another option. Daughter could attend my school. It is an independent (private) school for pupils aged 3 - 18. Daughter could come to school with me. I could be a proper mum dropping her off and picking her up. I'm on site should she be injured or ill. I can even pop over for Nativity Play and Sports Day (providing I can find someone to cover my lesson for half an hour). What is the problem, I hear you say?

Well, all her classmates would be scattered across the far reaches of Cheshire and not around the corner. Oh, and it would also be 14 years of school fees!

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

AAAAAAAARGH!

Sometimes I wish I was a proper (stay at home) mum and not bothering with this silly 'have it all' notion!

What to do, what to do?

Well, I interrogated all the members of staff I could about where their children went to school and why. The ones with children in local primaries were the part-time teachers who worked few enough hours to manage it and hence couldn't afford the fees anyway. The ones with children at my school had very positive comments and were undoubtedly happy with their choice.

Finally one colleague clinched it. She said,
  1. Our school had been the making of her children. They had been nurtured and encouraged and their teachers had brought out the best in them.
  2. It's hard enough being a working mum, why make it harder for yourself?
So, the letter is going to the authority to say thanks, but no thanks. Daughter has been for assessment at my school, been offered a place and we've accepted (oh, and filled out the direct debit form that means we'll be broke for the next 14 years).

I guess I should be grateful that I'm lucky to have this option. Other working mums have much more difficult situations than mine. But I still worry that we've made the right decision. Only time will tell. I suppose that is the lot of the working mum!

Tagged again!

I've been tagged by the lovely reluctant housewife! I feel like a real blogger now; tagged twice and on people's reading lists!

So I'm sitting on the sofa with my husband's laptop (mine is refusing to go wireless) whilst husband and daughter are weeding the back garden (I design, he maintains) so I thought I'd give it a go.

I have to

  1. pick up the nearest book of at least 123 pages
  2. turn to page 123
  3. turn to the 5th sentence
  4. post the next 3 sentences
  5. tag 5 more people

So, on the coffee table is 'One to Nine' by Andrew Hodges (yes, I'm still wading through it, although I have gone past page 123). Here are the required sentences:


"You are already familiar with congruence classes (modulo 7) from the days of the week. If the 1st of January is a Wednesday, what is the 30th January? Because 30 is congruent to 2 (modulo 7), the question is the same as asking which day of the week the 2nd of January falls on, which is a Thursday."


Any the wiser? Do you care? All I know is daughter's birthday is a Saturday this year and I've foolishly promised her a party. Why? WHY?

As for five more people, I only know the blogs I like and some of those have already done it so I'll nominate two new ones I've found:

Scrappy Sue at My Home Wellington Town
Potty Mum at The Potty Diaries

plus some old favourites:

Mean Moody Middle-aged Mum - she so makes me laugh
The Mother of this Lot at Mother's Pride - I love everything about her blog, she so deserves an award, perhaps I should nominate her?

and I was going to do Sass e-mum at One Strangely Lush Mother because she reminds me of the fun and wonder of the early days of motherhood (plus she mentioned me in the same sentence as Victoria Beckham) but she's already done it. So I'll stick at four for now. I'm sure these things die a natural death anyway.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Yummy vs Slummy

Whilst on my recent holiday I took the opportunity to catch up on my chick-lit and read 'The Rise and Fall of a Yummy Mummy' by Polly Williams.


This is the first book about new motherhood that I have identified with. Not the idyll of falling in love with your baby the minute you see it and turning into laudable earth mother, no, it tells with painful accuracy the feelings of inadequacy, disorientation and loss of identity that I struggled to come to terms with after having a baby.


The mummy of the book tries to become something she isn't in an attempt to get her life back, but gradually becomes a person she is happy to be as she settles into the world of motherhood. Whilst I don't identify with the designer shoes, botox and pilates of the yummy mummies, I understand the need to get your own identity back. I bought new glasses, a new handbag and went for a new haircut: when my friend saw it she said "Is that the ' I'm not just a mum, I'm a person too' haircut?" so obviously it isn't just me! 'Yummy Mummy' is an enjoyable and in some ways remarkable first novel and I applaud Polly for telling our story.

Next I'm reading 'The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy' by Fiona Neill which sounds much more me!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Easter Holidays

Have just returned from a week's holiday in the Peak District. No, we didn't go far, in fact husband said if we've forgotten anything he'd pop back! The distance isn't the point, it's the getting away. Away from the half-finished house, the eternally ringing phone, the garden that needs weeding, etc.

So this was my plan:
  1. Convince my parents that they would like to accompany us on hols to spend quality time with their granddaughter thus halving the work and the cost.
  2. Book comfy cottage in countryside making sure it has all necessary mod cons - Sky TV, DVD player, dishwasher, etc.
  3. Organise the meals for the week - each adult cooks one night, eat out one night, take-away one night and one night of cheese and wine thus giving me six nights off!
This was what happened:
  1. I developed yet another cough and cold (WMS) the day we went away and coughed and sneezed so much that eventually husband depositied me outside a chemists' in Bakewell saying "Buy stuff!"
  2. Made the mistake of taking daughter out of nappies at night two weeks before holiday so spent four nights up at 2am changing sheets.
  3. Daughter developed tummy bug and spent two days vomiting, necessitating major clean up of cottage. (Why is it when daughter is sick I grab the nearest receptacle, rub her back and mutter calming words while husband stands motionless staring at her as if she is something out of 'The Exorcist'?)
Actually, in between these hiccups we did have a good holiday. Snow on Easter Sunday meant snowmen and snowball fights. In the rest of the week we visited The Heights of Abraham by cable car and toured the caverns, visited Sudbury House and the Museum of Childhood (they had my Cindy doll!), visited Hardwick Hall where daughter did the bunny hunt and had a bracing walk around Bakewell followed by tea and the famous Bakewell Tart.

At the end of this fun packed holiday I asked daughter what her best part of her holiday was .........................................." watching CBeebies"


Heigh ho!

Friday, 21 March 2008

Good Friday

It's Good Friday, husband has gone to play in an annual football tournament in Liverpool and MIL has taken daughter to church for the Sunday School activity thing. After nearly four years without a minute to myself I get four days in the same week. Amazing!

Have done the washing and ironing and cleaned the kitchen. This is me looking smug in my clean kitchen:
Meez 3D avatar avatars games
.............no, honestly, this is my kitchen! (Well, a much larger version)

If you recall, we are 'doing up the house'. One of the first things we did when we moved in was use our life savings to install a new bathroom and kitchen because the surveyor had condemned the old ones. Here is the old kitchen:


The built-in fridge was a haven of mould and mildew so we used our old one in the garage, the ignition on the hob didn't work because of the build up of food on the rings and the built-in oven was broken so we lived off things we could cook in the microwave until new kitchen was fitted. Ta-dah:


See the resemblance? The kitchen is now the heart of the house. It's where I spend most of my time and where daughter joins me for painting, sticking, writing, colouring and of course, cooking. Yesterday we made cornflake nests for Easter ...

... and this morning we made cards and pictures:


Yes, it's the school holidays and virtuous 50's mum is back!


PS 2.30pm Daughter returned from church after hearing the story of Easter. I asked what she had learned. She said "Jesus is a scarecrow!" (think about it)

Thursday, 20 March 2008

On being tagged

Help - I've been tagged by mean moody middle-aged mom. After mad panic thinking it involved some sort of ankle bracelet from local prison I find that I have to list 7 unusual/peculiar things about myself so here goes:


  1. I can recite the alphabet backwards - don't ask me why
  2. At school I learned the art of campanology (church bell ringing)
  3. At university I danced in the university ballroom dancing team (waltz and quickstep) - kept this quiet for a long time, but now it's fashionable thanks to 'Strictly Come Dancing' ('Dancing with the Stars' in America, I think)
  4. I can touch type - much to the annoyance of my two fingered colleagues
  5. In times of stress I hide chocolate under my bed- that last time was a box of Toblerone 'One by One' in January when our boiler packed up
  6. I still suffer from travel sickness - at my age!
  7. I like my books arranged in height order (husband says I have a touch of OCD!):

Looking at that list now I seem like a real weirdo. Why couldn't it have been 'your 7 greatest achievements'?

Now I have to tag seven other people. Seven! How about the blogs I like:

A mother's place is in the wrong
Amanda's Life
Family Affairs
GoneBackSouth
Mother's Pride
One Strangely Lush Mother
Wife in the North

Apologies if you've already done this one, you're far too busy writing your blogs or you're just far too important!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Blinking bonnets!

This is my third day off work and this is how it's going:

7.00am Daughter in tears saying she needs an Easter Bonnet for the parade at school (she goes to the nursery in the afternoons). I know nothing about this, but daughter can't be consoled. Luckily had bought an Easter Bonnet kit from Tesco (TGFT) so by 7.30am we were making bonnet.


8.00am Dropped daughter at fabulous childminder (FC) with bonnet:


8.30am Checked into google reader to catch up with other blogs. Help - I've been tagged by mean, moody middle-aged mom - what does that mean? what do I do? is it painful?


9.00am Phoned school to check if daughter does need bonnet, they don't know. They'll ring back.


9.30am School phoned back to say the parade is this morning, but afternoon pupils can come with their bonnets. Obviously this is what daughter meant. Big dilemma: do I phone FC and say bonnet not required this afternoon, or do I go and collect daughter and take her to parade? Decided to be good mum and get daughter.


9.45am Phoned FC (who was up to her elbows in bread dough with children, she really is fabulous) to say I'll pick daughter up to go to parade.


10.15 am Collected daughter and bonnet.


11.00am Easter Parade! It was lovely. Lots of children (including my beaming daughter) parading around the hall in weird and wonderful bonnets. Then they sat on the stage and sang songs to us. Brought a tear to my eye. How could I have missed this?


12.00 Dashed home to give daughter lunch before dashing out again to deliver her to nursery (forgetting her libary book in the rush)

1.00pm Trudged home from nursery carrying Thomas the Tank Engine scooter (I had let her go to nursery on it)

1.30pm Settled down with nice cup of tea for a rest!

2.00pm MIL arrives to ask me to e-mail a photo for her. Offer her cup of coffee while I do good turn for the day.

2.45pm MIL leaves. Update blog.

3.00pm Set off for nursery to collect daughter.

I don't know which is worse - going to work or staying at home!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Avatar mad!

Since being off work I have found myself strangely drawn to making avatars of myself:

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

Bit disappointed I can't put crazy strawberry blonde curls on daughter. Getting quite hooked on finding just the right clothes and glasses. Why don't they have a shell necklace like mine? Why don't they have my little brown ankle boots? Have even contacted meez.com to ask them for a briefcase!
(I blame the mother of this lot- it was her blog that inspired me!)

Until a few weeks ago I didn't even know what an avatar was. Looked it up on Wiki and found that an avatar was, in Hindu philosophy, 'a bodily manifestation of a divine being'. Like the sound of that; divine being. Then discovered 'in computing, a graphical representation of a user' - so now I'm an addict!

Actually there is something of the addictive in this. Wasn't there a TV programme on people whose lives are taken over by their avatars recently? Now, can I find a dress like my choir uniform ..........?

The Bag Lady

It's official. My daughter is a bag lady.

This is the sight that met me yesterday when cleaning her room:


A long time ago a friend gave me an old cotton bag for 'when she starts putting things in bags'. I had no idea what she was talking about. She also bought daughter a Noddy rucksack 'to put stuff in'. What was this? Was my friend obsessed with bags?

Now I know........

Gradually daughter progressed from cotton bag to Noddy rucksack to any gift or shop bag she can get. She even puts things inside bags inside bags. What is all that about?

Monday, 17 March 2008

Not working mum - getting a bit waylaid!

Having been diagnosed with viral laryngitis (no voice) and signed off work for a week I find myself in the strange and unusual position of not working. Fabulous childminder has returned from her holiday looking tanned and refreshed. Daughter has gone there as usual, so I am not a mum either.

Am now sitting in an eerily quiet house. Feel a bit of a fraud. Here's what I've done so far today:

Started this morning by marking a pile of tests, preparing work for my classes tomorrow and e-mailing it into school. Got a bit waylaid making an avatar of myself, but convinced myself it's all part of developing my IT skills:

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

Then ventured to the local library; no danger of having to use my voice there. Love the library. The amount of chick lit I get through means that I save approx £260 a year by borrowing rather than buying. I see this as a £260 rebate on my Council Tax (just how to claw back the rest?)

Aside: I do also read serious books (currently also reading 'One to Nine' by Andrew Hodges - a heavyweight book about Mathematics - one day I will reveal my other identity), but mostly when I flop into bed I just want a couple of chapters of amusing, entertaining fluff.

After library I cleaned daughter's bedroom, mainly because it is my favourite room in the house. Got a bit waylaid playing with the Mr Potato Head. Figure I shouldn't clean any more as I am ill and doctor said to rest. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Settled down with a nice cup of tea to watch an episode of 'Lark Rise to Candleford'. Fantastic new digital freeview recorder thingy has recorded the entire series for me - just have to find time to watch it. Got a bit waylaid by 'Loose Women' - no, no, mustn't get dragged into daytime TV twilight zone!

Now updating blog, might just have a look at some other sites while I'm logged on.................

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Daughter knows best

It is thought that children develop empathy for others around the age of 3.

For the past two nights I've ended up sleeping in the lounge on the sofa because lying down makes me cough and cough. Yesterday morning daughter rose at 6.30am and toddled into our bedroom, stopped and asked "Where's mummy?". Husband explained that I was downstairs because of my cough.

This morning I heard daughter's footsteps in her room at 6.30am, she toddled into our room and then came downstairs. "She's coming to see me", I thought.

No, she went into the kitchen. A few moments later she appeared in the lounge and placed this on the coffee table (notice the presentation):


saying, "I brought you a drink of water for your cough, Mummy"!

(I think she's reached the empathy stage)

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Magic Moments

Have been diagnosed with viral laryngitis and signed off work for a week (that'll be a new experience for me) so I have had to pull out of concert tonight. Haven't missed a performance through illness since 1995.

Rather than dwell on this negative, thought I would accentuate the positive and list ten magic moments of singing with The Manchester Chorale (I was going to do five, but I couldn't narrow it down):

1. Singing with Jose Carreras in Sheffield Arena (yes, really)

2. Singing with Pavarotti in Manchester's NYNEX Arena (yes, really)

3. Recording 'Songs of Praise' in the Power House of the Science Museum

4. Singing live on BBC GMR in the foyer of The Midland Hotel (the poshest hotel in Manchester where all the celebrities stay) and seeing the bemused looks on various famous peoples' faces

5. Trudging through muddy fields in the dark to do a concert in the ruins of Fountain's Abbey (no-one told us we'd need a torch to find the venue)

6. Singing in the Sunday Mass at Notre Dame, Paris (yes, really)

7. Getting snowed in in Buxton during the filming of Sainsbury's Choir of the Year Competition and preparing to spend the night on the floor of the ballroom in the Palace Hotel (luckily snow ploughs made a way out in the evening)

8. Seeing myself on 'The South Bank Show' having no idea that the concert with Russell Watson had been recorded (I was the soprano over his right shoulder singing 'Barcelona' a la Monserrat Caballe)

9. Performing the world premiere of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - the Opera'. Members of the orchestra walked out in rehearsals refusing to play it and the audience walked out in droves during the performance. It was one night only. It was so bad, it was funny. The only line I remember is 'bucket, bucket, Charlie Bucket, bucket'!

10. Dressing as Elvis to do 'The Shane Richie Experience' (crazy, but true)


Well, that has cheered me up. Especially Fountain's Abbey; it was so funny seeing forty odd choir members in uniform wandering the fields looking for ruins! And then my partner in crime, Jules, and I getting lost on the way home and heading for Newcastle instead of Manchester (we do that a lot)!

Friday, 14 March 2008

Thought for the day

Today is Founder's Day at my school so no lessons, just a church service full of suitable pomp and circumstance. The whole school attends to give praise to the Founder and to think about all those who have worked and learned in our esteemed institution over the last 500 years (yes, my school really is that old). I really rather like it and I felt I could manage an hour of sitting and miming hymns (still no voice).

During the service one part resonated with me; the Chaplain's 'Call To Worship'. I'm not a particularly religious person, but I like to think I have a moral compass and a certain amount of spirituality, but I think anyone will agree with these sentiments:

Look to this day for it is the very life of life: for yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision: but today well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope



Thursday, 13 March 2008

Premature panic

Decided to take advice and left work at 11.30am this morning unable to talk or think straight due to illness.

Came home and made 'nice cup of tea' (my mum's answer to all life's ills) and thought I'd better ring MIL to let her know I was home as she would see my car on the drive as she took my daughter to nursery this afternoon and would panic. (MIL lives nearby with a brook between us so she can see our house as she drives alongside the brook from her side)

Couldn't get through to MIL. Her land line rang once then stopped, her mobile number gave strange noises. Went into panic mode - "she's fallen over and when I ring her my daughter picks up but doesn't know what to do!" I thought.

Rushed out of house with no coat and drove round to hers to find her happily playing with daughter. "Yes, my phone's out of order" "Oh I never have my mobile on" Give me strength! Does the woman not know that primary carer of my most treasured possession has to be contactable at all times?

Anyway daughter now delighted that I was there to take her to nursery so we left the house just as the heavens opened and I got drenched.

Dropped daughter off, came home to cold cup of tea.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Working Mum Syndrome (WMS)

Don't wish to be down today, but I am feeling lousy. I guess I shouldn't have gone back to work on Monday as I am now aching all over, starting with the shivers and have lost my voice (not a good idea for a teacher).

Amazingly my lovely pupils have been great today and don't seem to mind being taught by sign language.

Big worry is Saturday's concert - I have a two and a half hour rehearsal tonight which I will have to attend to get conductor's notes, but will have to mime the music. Hope the voice returns for Saturday.

Reason for post title is that I am regularly ill with coughs, colds, chest infections, etc and have no energy (bedtime is 9.00pm unless parents' evening dictates I'm still at work at 9pm). So much so that my GP tested me last year for a variety of illnesses including underactive thyroid (it's in my family), but concluded that I just have

'Working Mum Syndrome' (full time job + toddler = ill)

He was sympathetic, but didn't have a cure - shame!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

What happened to Delia?

Settled down last night to a pile of A level marking and thought I'd tune in to good old Delia as background noise. I nearly fell off the sofa! Delia is at it now, is she? We've had Nigella telling us how to feed our families from our walk-in pantries stocked from the local deli. Now Delia is telling us to buy frozen mash, ready grated cheese..........with smoked salmon fillets and quails eggs! Neither seems to have any concept of the price of food these days.

Someone needs to tell these people that working mums have been feeding their families fast, nutritious food on a budget for years. I have a homecooked meal on the table within 30 minutes of arriving home (and a load of washing in the washer).

For what it's worth, here's my master plan (apologies if I'm preaching to the converted - any other tips gladly received):
  1. Judicious shopping - I look out for BOGOF offers on staples such as tea, coffee, dried pasta, I go to Iceland for quality, branded products at a cheaper price and I (sometimes) go to my local greengrocer.
  2. This is crucial - PLAN AHEAD. Each week I sit down and plan the meals we are going to have based on cost, time available and a varied and balanced diet. This also eliminates waste as I plan the use of ingredients over several meals.
  3. Befriend the freezer - even if only a small fridge freezer it can make life easier. At the weekend I cook double portions (eg bolognese, chilli) or even two meals at once (I have been known to whip up a shepherd's pie whilst doing a Sunday roast) and freeze ahead for the week. Tesco (TGFT) 'value' foodsavers cost next to nothing and are a life saver.
  4. Make your own convenience foods - it's not difficult to grate a block of cheese and freeze it in freezer bags, homemade mash freezes very well and homemade soups and pasta sauces cost next to nothing and can be frozen in individual portions.
  5. Befriend the microwave - frozen ahead meals can be defrosted and cooked in minutes
  6. Befriend the oven timer - a frozen ahead casserole can defrost in the oven during the day, then be cooked on the timer so I enter the house to the smell of homecooked food!
Tah dah! Feeling quite smug and virtuous now.

(Does it help to know that about once a month I resort to a takeaway on a Friday when I'm just too exhausted?)

Daughter's lunches

Day 1: Scooby Doo pasta and chocolate cake as predicted.

Day 2: Unbelievable! Daughter had mini pitta bread and houmous ( or "that paste you sent" as MIL called it) and ........ chocolate cake!

Monday, 10 March 2008

Childminder on Holiday!

"I need a week off" - the most alarming phrase known to working mums.

"Of course, that's fine" I replied with a cool, calm exterior whilst internally combusting. Of course childminders are entitled to paid holidays, I have no problem with that, it's just that I'm not allowed to take time off work to look after darling daughter while childminder away.

With my parents still working and all my friends fellow working mums I resort to.................................... the mother-in-law (MIL). Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful that she is looking after daughter this week, but these are my reservations:
  1. MIL is in her 70's, blind in one eye, has bad back and has habit of falling over and injuring herself - yet is still driving! (and more worryingly, driving my daughter)

  2. She feeds daughter tinned pasta and chocolate cake every day because "that's what she wanted"!

  3. MIL not equipped for looking after 3 year old like fabulous childminder, so have daily movement of child seat between cars, have to provide all play equipment, show her where CBeebies is on digital TV, etc

To counteract the food issue I have provided MIL with bag of healthy, nutritious snacks for daughter. To counteract boredom I have bought all Easter activity packs from Tesco (TGFT) and have proffered daughter's library card as a suitable outing.

We shall see how the week progresses ...................





Sunday, 9 March 2008

Motherhood vs dignity

This morning darling daughter decided she wanted to dress in her fairy outfit. Fair enough; she spent a good proportion of the morning waving her wand and pretending to be the tooth fairy (since when did tooth fairies have tills?). Then husband decided we should go to the garden centre and of course, she wanted to go in her fairy outfit. No-one batted an eyelid as the fairy in the trainers and red socks was wheeled around in a trolley:



BC (before child) I would have been mortified at the thought of taking a fairy to the garden centre, so this got me thinking about how motherhood changes your sense of embarrassment.

My friend has a theory that after you've gone through the indignity of childbirth, nothing else bothers you. She could be right. Take the other week, I crouched down in Tesco (TGFT) to ask daughter a question, she launched herself at me (apparently to sit on my knee) and I went sprawling all over the floor. I wasn't even bothered when a very nice young men helped me up!

On balance I think this is a good thing.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Funky Foto

For those of your reading last Saturday you will remember that Izzy and I had our photos taken at her school by Funky Foto unbeknowns to my husband! Photos now arrived and here's one:




Daughter was a complete natural and didn't take a bad photo, but yours truly ruined a few with my tendency to close my eyes on photos. However, the photographer took some great pictures and it was really hard to choose. Especially as the prices were very reasonable compared to other contemporary photographers.

If you are interested in Funky Foto for a school or other event please click on their link and contact them (no, I'm not on commission, I just liked them!)

Just hope husband likes the pictures ............

Friday, 7 March 2008

Day off sick

Woke up yesterday aching all over, sore throat, headache, etc - yet another cold. Struggled into work because I was one of the members of staff taking sixth formers to a UCAS convention and couldn't let them down, but couldn't manage teaching 120 teenagers today. First day off sick in over 12 months; feel lousy, feel guilty (colleagues will have to cover my lessons and pupils will not have the benefit of my expert teaching!)

Spent the morning in bed, now trying to book delivery slot with tesco so I don't have to go this weekend (thank god for tesco.com)

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Having it all update

So the general theme of this blog is to find out if it is possible to 'have it all'. A middle class professional should be able to achieve career, marriage, children and home, don't you think? So how am I doing?

Career: well, interviews were held this week for the new Head of our Department and I decided not to apply, so not exactly advancing in career stakes, but the successful applicant has two children who are older than mine giving me hope that a career may be possible in the future.

Marriage: I think I last spoke to my husband on Sunday. Football season coming to an end so should be spending more time with hubby soon (will that help or hinder marriage?!).

Child: regressed to terrible twos and having tantrums again (went to bed without a story on Monday after toilet-based tantrum), but 'Star of the Week' at nursery so can't be doing such a bad job with her.

House: master bedroom now half stripped of wallpaper, need to strip other half before joiner comes to sort out doorway.

Oh, and some time for myself? Well, I managed to get to the second half of the choir rehearsal last night after a 12 hour day at work (Parents' Evening). Concert next week and the 'Big Sing' at the Bridgewater Hall at the end of this month to look forward to.

Altogether I don't think that's too bad.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Mother's Day

What a pleasant surprise, I've had a nice day! Despite listening to mother-in-law's stories for the fifitieth time (don't the over 70s have any new experiences to talk about?)

Breakfast in bed at 8.45am (a two hour lie-in!) Presents included chocolates and 'Ratatouille' on DVD (I love Disney Pixar) and some homemade cards and presents.

Husband cooked a fab lunch including a homemade fruit pudding with toffee sauce, yum!

Lots of quality time playing with daughter mostly making clothes for cardboard dolls.

No washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning, dishes, tantrums or whinging! (Except for husband whinging about having to bath daughter, but I stood firm)

Finished the day by watching 'Ratatouille' with daughter snuggled up under a blanket. Aaah!

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Saturdays

I used to love Saturdays. Saturdays consisted of a lie in, a lazy breakfast, a trip to the gym and then an afternoon of shopping or lying on the sofa reading a good book. Of course that was when I was a DINK (double income no kids) and could please myself on my days off.

So what is Saturday like as a working mum?

Well, take today. Husband off to work to do football match (every Saturday from September to March my husband spends Saturday morning with other people's children). I had done the Tesco shop on Thursday night (thank god for 24 hr Tesco) so no big shop today, but I desperately needed to fill the freezer - the lifeline of a working mum.

Off we went to Iceland via the diversion as they are doing yet more roadworks in Timperley. Daughter decides that she is old enough to push the trolley. Very quiet in shop, decide to give daughter opportunity to do something grown up. Unfortunately, no people in shop, but large display of toilet rolls stacked six foot high and yes, you've guessed it ......daughter crashes in to it!

From there we go to daughter's school for photos taken by 'Funky Fotos' (more on them later). When we got the letter from the PTA about family photo day husband said we couldn't do it as he was at work. In fit of pique I decided that he might not be able to do it, but me and Izzy can so I booked us in! So this morning consisted of tantrums over which T-shirt she was to wear and the fact that she needed her hair brushing. Still the photo shoot went quite well. Just a tad stressful trying to choose which one I wanted whilst daughter was running round school hall as if it was a PE lesson.

Then trip to car wash as my car hadn't been washed since Christmas and was covered in bird droppings from work car park. Promised daughter we'd go to the special one that gives you a lollipop while you go through. Guess what - no lollipops any more! Went through car wash with crying child in back of car.

Home for lunch then daughter could choose afternoon activities from a variety. She chose going to park, then to the toy shop to get an animal for her farm as a reward for being star of the week in nursery this week. (I'm so proud!)

Knew things wouldn't go well when we got 100 yards from house and she wanted the toilet. 200 yards further she no longer wanted to scoot her scooter. After half an hour at the park I suggested we go home so that we could go to the toy shop. Major tantrums over which way is home, don't want scooter, too tired to walk, etc. Threatened her with no toy shop if she continued. She threw down the scooter.

Walked home carrying scooter accompanied by wailing daughter.

When I got home husband had come in for a sandwich before he went out to watch City (every other Saturday from September to May husband watches Manchester City).

Time out for daughter, husband leaves, daughter apologises. Plonk her in front of CBeebies whilst I make tea and attempt to clean kitchen.

Later, when she's asleep I may try to tidy lounge as mother-in-law coming tomorrow for Mother's Day. Surely Mother's Day should be prioritised for mums who are actually living with offspring? Well, that's a whole other post .....................