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Tiredness comes as part and parcel of parenting, but the menopause makes it worse.
I’ve been tired for, say, 19 years or so, but recently I’ve been feeling completely exhausted despite getting more sleep than in the past. I’m blaming the menopause. It seems to come in fits and starts. One week I am merely exhausted and fall asleep as soon as Graham Norton comes on of a Friday evening; the next I am conking out halfway through reading only son the latest David Walliams book. I’m almost too tired to rant about Brexit. Only son has rallied to the cause and has begun a two-week Mother’s Day campaign. He brought me breakfast [with a flower], iced my diet coke and gave me a foot massage on Sunday.
It could also be that life is busier. It’s hard to believe that the early years, organising four small people into school and nursery, not sleeping, countless episodes of nits and the norovirus etc, are less manic than now, but I think that, whereas in the past it was mainly about practical skills, it is now psychological abilities that are required: cajoling people to go places or to move even; getting everyone ready at the same time; getting everyone to agree on places to go or alternatively dropping people off at separate locations and putting together a highly complex pick-up routine; worrying about people getting to where they said they were going and not wandering around parks at midnight; worrying generally about people’s stress levels and mental health; dealing with period pains [obvs not mine]; consoling heartbroken teens; giving motivational speeches, etc. It’s all a bit draining.
Take Sunday. I was up early to drop daughter one at the tube for work. Only son was next up and did the Advance Mother’s Day surprise. There was cleaning and ironing [basic level]; school admin; spellings [only son]…I suggested to only son that we go and visit daughter one at work. Then daughter three woke up. She wanted to go to vintage shops in Brick Lane. Only son had lost his earphones. Daughter one’s work is near Brick Lane. Daughter two was at a sleepover somewhere east, although she had not been replying to any messages since she left.
It all seemed to be converging into a plan. I suggested we converge on Stratford where all routes meet. The adults and younger team went to Brick Lane via KFC. Only son was upbeat at the start. Two vintage shops down and he was in full rant. “Daughter three, you have a problem with clothes. You are literally obsessed with clothes. Deal with it.” Ping. Daughter one was on her way home. I texted to say she would have to stay at the tube station for a while or come and meet us en route. Ping. Daughter two was on her way home via a replacement bus service. There then followed an elaborate load of logistics. Daughter one decided to meet us on the tube platform at Liverpool Street. Daughter two went awol. Only son needed the toilet several times and was on a go slow protest due to not having earphones and being forced to go to vintage shops.
Eventually, we located daughter one, got separated on the tube, got to Stratford, got some earphones and all seemed to be going well. Ping. Daughter two was lost, having got the replacement bus service. She was near a park in Stratford and had no idea where Westfield was. “Ask a person in authority,” suggested her dad. “Google map it,” said daughter one. My partner eventually guided her to a bench near Westfield and went to meet her. Daughters one and three disappeared. Only son needed the toilet again. By around 6pm everyone was in one place. Within hours it was Monday again.