Yesterday morning was one of our BLITZ mornings. Everything had to be done at hyper speed because we let the alarm clock go to snooze too many times. Ok so I’m in charge of the alarm clock and the BLITZ was entirely my fault and I felt and looked the stress of it. On days like this I often think of the working mum I see on the bus on the way to work. Does she struggle on mornings like this too?
I left the house with rotten hair, thrown up in a knot, greasy yet weirdly full of frizz… frizzy grease is not a good look. I managed to throw a bit of concealer on and as I wouldn’t dare leave the house without mascara I managed to swipe this onto my ridiculously long lashes only jabbing my eyeball twice. But my face felt naked and I looked worn, tired and old. We were doing a stock take in work so luckily it didn’t matter that I threw on the clothes from the day before, I was bound to stink them up with the energetic task of checking each and every single book and journal in our library. Happy days.
A looked cute in her green shorts and brown t-shirt,matching belt and white butterfly shoes. Our child is super fashionable! But she felt the rush as I whipped the pj’s off and threw her outfit on.
POP! “Suda, Suda, you took my Suda!” Blast! In my haste, the t-shirt pulled tight and whipped the soother out of her mouth. We didn’t need a meltdown this morning. Soother retrieved as quick as lightening and toddler distracted by Ryan reviewing… nothing just showing us what he has on YouTube (Ryan’s Toy Review we still love you) meant I managed to get her hair half combed and clip in place to tame her maddening curls. She was done, looked gorgeous and I was a state!
B comes flying out of the bathroom, car keys, house keys, A’s Bag, his bag, and my lunch. “Oh my God, is that the time?” he asks as he sees the digital clock on the bedside locker which A got me for mothers day. “Frick, yeah” I reply.
“Now, missus turn mammy’s phone off and pop it in my bag.” Tender hooks. .. dear God she obliges hallelujah! “Don’t forget to give Daddy your soother.” Holding our breath again. Pop! Soother pops out and is handed to Daddy. And breathe. Heading to the door, she pipes up “I want a biscuit.” It’s 7am! Are you serious. B and I lock eyes, the seconds ticking past in both our heads. Frick it, fine, let’s get a biscuit. We don’t have time for meltdowns over biscuits. Rich Tea in hand we head out. (Hey don’t judge, at least it’s not chocolate – although right then we’d probably have given her pizza and a Vienetta ice cream if she asked for it! Yes we’d have gone back to 1988 for Vienetta).
A and B pretend to fly like Superman as they do every morning and open the gates at the end of our drive (why break tradition, we’re only late! ). I throw the bags in the boot, they fly over to me, I whip A up, strap her in the car, B locks up the house, jumps in the driving seat … and breathes. “Caught up well there, we’re only five minutes later than normal.” Yeah thank the Lord above we fit our usual 50 minute morning routine into 20 sodding minutes. I looked like death and B had a shadow under his eyes that just screamed “baaaaaad morning”.
Thank god A gets breakfast in her Great Aunts, less of the mom guilt on mornings like this. (Just in case you were wondering why we didn’t feed the two year old and expected her to survive on one Rich Tea biscuit! )
And that wasn’t even that bad of a morning really. We’ve had worse BLITZ mornings that involved tantrums, broken cups and of course the obligatory spilt milk.
Halfway to Great Aunts and B’s work, he drops me off at the bus stop. All of the stress and rushing of our BLITZ morning washes away from my shoulders as I gracefully hop on to the bus and say a friendly good morning to the driver. I take my usual seat, take out my phone, close Kids YouTube which is still on Ryan showing off a spiderman figure, and open my blog. The first thing I see is a notification that someone has commented on my blog post To the Working Mother Commuting with her Toddler. And my BLITZ morning is put into perspective. (Getting a lot of perspective this week).
Since writing that post, I’ve been trying to pluck up the courage to talk to this mum. From one of my recent posts you’ll know that I’m really not good at this sort of thing. I don’t like putting myself out there, introducing myself to strangers, making small talk or the first move. I’ll be honest I didn’t think I’d ever talk to her.
This morning I did.
We didn’t talk long. We didn’t talk much. But I wanted her to know that she’s doing a great job. When I first became a mum I found it hard. The transition to parenthood was challenging and tiring. There were days I was happy to have just thrown on a fresh pair of jeans and brushed my teeth. There were a lot of days when I just wanted someone to tell me, “Hey Ger, you’re doing a great job Momma!”
This commuting mother looked as frazzled as I did yesterday morning. She looked tired and I imagined she was up at the crack of dawn like a lot of parents whose babies and toddlers have yet to figure out an acceptable sociable hour to wake. Her little boy was kicking the buggy. The noise didn’t bother me, I’m used to some level of static rattley noise with A. Toddlers like noise and why not, silence can be maddening.
I caught his mother’s eye and she mouthed “sorry” to me. I smiled and mouthed back “Don’t worry,” but I could see the nerves on her face as she tried to shush her little one. Some commuters shuffling in their seats and clearing their throats in an obvious fashion to signal the mother to control her child. He called for a banana. She had none. We all know what a toddler is like when they want something. He called for one again and again. My banana for my mid morning break practically jumped out of my bag and landed in this mothers lap! Feck it, why not? The little lad wanted one. “Are you sure?” she asked, almost sinking back into her seat with relief when I said “of course.” I stayed standing beside this mum and her little boy for the rest of the journey, about five minutes, until they got off at their stop. He told me he loved Thomas the Tank Engine and that he was going to see ‘Ganny’ in between bites of banana. Turns out this mum works part time in the city. Her little boy is looked after by his grandmother who lives close to the bus stop. She then has to get another bus to her job and on top of that she studies part time two nights a week in the evening. She’s a single mum.
I asked her how she manages. Too personal a question in my opinion because it’s absolutely none of my business but I couldn’t help it. She simply said “Somedays I don’t.” I wanted to hug her, thank her for her honesty and just let her know that I think she’s awesome and brave and strong. I looked down at her little boy who was squirming trying to find a Paw Patrol book that was buried in the side of the buggy. The half eaten banana was getting mushed as he wriggled about. “Well, you know what,” I said to her, “you’re doing a damn good job.”
When they got off the bus I went back to my vacant seat and the little boy waved to me from his buggy. His mum smiled. I hope she went to work feeling happy, a little bit more confident, more at ease, and a whole lot proud of herself. Because she should be. I tip my hat to this mum.
*FYI also incredibly proud of myself for chatting to someone I don’t know, off the cuff like that. Kudos to this momma too!*