The maid and the nanny both called in sick this morning. A sentence I never thought I would write, let alone say out loud. It did, however, mean that I got to spend a rare day with The Boy.
Rare, not because I never have time with him – quite the opposite, I spend the whole time at work desperate to get home to play, and we are together for the majority of every weekend. No, today was rare because it was a weekday, we were on our own at home, and there were chores to be done.
I work as a full-time teacher at an international school, where the maternity leave is a mere six weeks long and a part-time job is not an option. Financially I must work, for my sanity I must work, but I still long to be able to spend at least half my week being a stay at home mum. My mother did forewarn me that parenthood would be a balancing act and that guilt would become the norm, and it continues to be a tough adjustment to make. Even when I am lucky enough to be in a position where my son is cared for by an amazing nanny, and that I rarely have to iron a shirt or empty a bin.
On an average day I spend from 5am (ish….) to 7am getting The Boy, The Husband, The Cats and myself ready for the day. This involves making bottles with one hand and putting mascara on with the other whilst blowing raspberries and eating a bagel. The nanny arrives, we go to work. Approximately eight hours later I attempt to rush home through treacle-like Bangkok traffic to spend the last two or so hours playing with The Boy before bedtime.
So today was a taste of the lifestyle that I long for. My Boy and I played lots of games; we took a walk to the supermarket (albeit on a pot-holed pavement alongside a smoggy three-lane highway. Thanks, Bangkok); we had breakfast and lunch together; we watched Charlie and Lola; I watched him try to crawl and land on his nose; I kissed him and made it better; I put him down and woke him from naps; in short, I had a perfectly normal day of parenthood. Oh, and I did the chores – three loads of laundry, the ironing, the mopping of floors and the changing of sheets. The mundanity of it was marvellous.
Perhaps the idea I have of being able to enjoy work and still feel like I am investing enough time into my child is both fantastical and impossible, but I hope that one day I will be in a position to at least try. However hard it is to give up coming home to a sparkling kitchen floor and underwear that is ironed and colour-coded.