independent

Monday 18 December 2017

Justine O'mahony

A few days as a working mother makes everyone at home really appreciate you

DOING HOLIDAY cover for a work colleague has resulted in a temporary change in our domestic arrangements. That actually means there are no domestic arrangements at present and the house has gone to pot.

The children were quite taken aback on Monday morning to find me showered, dressed and madeup by the time they got up. "Why aren't you wearing your dressing gown?" the Oldest asked, whilst shovelling coco pops into his mouth at a rate faster than the speed of light.

'Because I have to go to work,' I replied slightly self-righteously. "Why? You don't normally?" he commented, before spilling coco pops all over the floor and stepping on them with his runner.

See herein lies the problem. My children think I am a lady of leisure. Because my working arrangements are........loose shall we say, they think all I do all day long is lounge around in my dressing gown, watching This Morning and going on Facebook and Twitter.

That's not to say I've NEVER done that. But I don't do it on a regular basis. I work, they just don't realise I work because I'm nearly always there to collect them from school and bring them home. They also don't notice that the fridge is always full of food, the washing is done, beds are made and the detritus they leave in their wake tidied up after them each morning.

So it was a bit of a shock for them to realise there was no dinner ready Monday evening, their uniforms hadn't been ironed and there was a big pile of dirty washing sitting on the utility room floor.

They were even more stunned when they got chocolate spread sandwiches in their lunch boxes three days in a row and would have gotten them a fourth day except we ran out of bread and they had to make do with plain crackers.

'Why have you been giving us the same lunch every day?' the six year old inquired. 'Because there's nothing else in the cupboards. Anyway you love chocolate spread' i retorted indignantly.

'Not every day. And Emily Johnson says chocolate spread is bad for you,' she muttered. 'Emily Johnson needs to chill out!' I told her. Bloody Emily Johnson and her bloody organic rice cakes, I thought viciously as I scoured the cupboards looking for something remotely healthy to give her. A packet of popcorn two days out of date was the closest to 'fresh' I could find.

By Thursday due to a few late evenings in work, we had reached crisis point. The dishwasher hadn't been emptied since Monday, there was now three piles of washing in the utility room and the coco pops spilt Monday were still scattered all over the kitchen floor. Himself has obviously got selective vision and ignored the chaos choosing instead to retreat to Supermacs with the kids.

'I don't like it when you work, it makes you cranky' whinged the Youngest after I shouted at them to pick their clothes up off the floor.

'I work every day looking after this house and making sure you little headwreckers are fed and watered," I said wagging my finger. 'Well can you start feeding and watering us again please?' asked the Nine year old adding, 'I'm sure Dad wouldn't mind paying you."

It's amazing how a few days of chocolate spread sandwiches, no clean clothes and unmade beds can do to make people appreciate you.

Normal service will resume once a new pay deal has been negotiated!

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