It’s been a long weekend with four very excited children. My partner is currently in Spain and so I have been doing the Christmas performance/Christmas rundown shift. This has involved trying to carve out a piece of time for every child. Hence, daughter three has been in my bed every night since Wednesday due, in theory, to a cold. Ditto toddler boy, but then again he’s a regular. When he heard daughter three snoring in the bed next to him, he rolled closer to me and whispered in a concerned voice: “Mummy, there’s a monster in the bed.”
Daughter one has been up late all weekend watching films with me until I have conked out and she has had to drag me upstairs. Daughter two has organised a 60-minute makeover for her room, which took rather longer than 60 minutes and resulted in at least two bags full of paper being thrown in the rubbish bin despite her attempts to rescue “very important drawings”.
I’ve also done some plastering, Christmas shopping for daughter one and two’s friends [Poundland] and a Christmas party [daughter three presented me with an invitation first thing on Saturday morning]. I think I’ve sorted a problem with the car and I’ve finally done all the Christmas cards plus de-fleaed the cats. I’ve paid for daughter one’s guitar lessons, sewn up the hole in daughter three’s onesie, created some Christmas gifts for the teachers, ordered daughter one a new guitar case, sorted her birthday next week and arranged a Christmas get-together with the family.
I feel extremely efficient, like a well oiled mummy machine. I am sure this will not last. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I didn’t do all the stuff that needs doing straight away [ie before it is consigned to the black hole which lies behind my short-term memory drive]. What if I left it a day, a week, a month? Would the whole edifice of family collapse?
In the middle of this efficiency drive, I also grabbed about 10 minutes to read a couple more pages of The End of Men [by Hanna Rosin], which talks of women in the US taking over because they are so extremely efficient and driven to succeed, whatever it takes. I seem to have honed the efficiency bit; I’ve just failed on the success part [I am currently contemplating becoming a pharmacist on the basis that Rosin has a whole chapter on how far they have come]. At one point the book talks about the way women balance home and family life. There’s a line in there which says women are the pioneers of this new flexible way of working and that we will all be working that way soon. I’m taking a grain of comfort from this. I heard recently that someone who I used to work with at an online news service in the 90s is now selling himself as a “digital pioneer”. Perhaps women need to rebadge themselves as “future work pioneers” – and charge consultancy fees accordingly.