When I felt the emotional entanglement of so-called working mum’s guilt

I felt a rising panic. In the middle of a meeting that I was about to have to self-consciously exit, I had to whatsapp the friend that picks up our older children from school today as my husband had given the wrong information to the children about where they were going this evening.

I then had to leave the meeting that was in no way over so that I could make it to school for Parents’ evening.

Speed-walking the long distance from the meeting to my desk I called my husband crossly to complain about him getting the childcare plans wrong again (the week before last he forgot to take our friends’ child to school).

“Get your act together”

“I shouldn’t have to check on you all the time”

“You drive me nuts”

Effing and blinding as I dropped my notebook and papers while on the phone to him.

Effing and blinding again as I drop everything again trying to whatsapp while walking.

I got back to my desk and shoved a load of stuff, necessary and not, in my laptop bag and back pack (while complaining loudly about my annoying husband to my friends) , threw it all in the car and made a speedy exit,

It was a beautiful evening; the air was mild with a low sun on the autumn leaves casting shadows across the school playing field as I pulled up outside. I felt like I should be running around outside with my children, not rushing to London for an optional meeting on my day off. I saw my husband approaching the school from the opposite direction, having come from work himself.

Knowing that I had very little time to get myself organised before my evening train to London, this working mother banshee carried everything – overnight bag, laptop bag, back pack – into child #1’s classroom, assuming a wait time that would let me get organised.

I left my open bags in a mess next to the small school tables and chairs when we were called in to talk to #1’s teacher. I found it hard to concentrate on what she was saying. It all sounded generic until she started talking about his recent sneaky behaviour which worried me a little

Teacher #2 was a similar picture but all this talk of my beautiful sweet girl made me miss her.

Instead of heading straight for the train from school I took a risky diversion to the friend’s house where the older 2 go every Tuesday to give them a kiss (a shirked one from my son). I had the awareness to know that this was much more about me than them. My lack of control this afternoon, the stressful situation, the unpleasant rush to meet deadlines of parents’ evening and trains, They were probably too old to be confused by it (and for that reason I didn’t stop at the twins’ nursery despite wanting to kiss their soft necks and hair) but that didn’t make it ok.

I don’t often get this feeling – a heart-wrenching pull towards my children – the last time I remember was during a week-long trip to Argentina, reason enough. But when I do it makes me question, just a little, the decision I’ve made to be a working mum.

I feel calmer now, 5 minutes away from London. The can of G&T helped (£4,50! – hopefully I can still expense it). I’m looking forward to seeing my brother, the reason for coming down the night before and I’m looking forward to smelling and seeing them all tomorrow night, asleep in their beds.

The perspective comes back, but the thought lingers on.

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