I hate mornings. Like actually hate them. There is nothing quite like the feel of my pillow against my face, when I know that I need to get up- but I really don’t want to. My blankets feel like silk, Zahara is dreamily snoozing next to me, the dog has finally got into prime leg spoon position and no part of me wants to commit to the new day. It’s at this moment, every week day morning, that I realise how utterly exhausted I am.
Every night, before I go to bed, I check that my alarm is on- and I promise myself that I’ll get up as soon as it goes off. I’ll plan having enough time to style my hair nicely, pick out an edgy outfit, have 5 minutes extra in the shower and maybe, just maybe, make myself a hot cup of moccona in the pink thermos that I picked up at Pak’ N’ Save one day when I was feeling flush.
Then my alarm goes off. In a bleary eyed stupor: the negotiations begin.
Snooze- a Mum bun is fine
Snooze- I’ll wear tried and true outfit to work today
Snooze- a quick splash is fine
Snooze- I’ll grab a coffee in the staffroom- and skull it before class
Then, the inevitable. Once my foot hits the floor- regret smacks me right in the face. As I am racing around like domesticated version of Usain Bolt, I wonder how a 32 year old manages to be such an egg with her life. I shuffle through my laundry basket, promising myself to put my clothes away after dinner, find my warehouse ballet flats, attempt to tame my hair, then a quick swipe of BB, the stuff that seems to accentuate my bags. Next, it’s time for an out of the blue stub of my toe, or maybe I’ll stand on something sharp and I promise myself I’ll be better at tidying up the house that night.
Then it’s Zahara’s turn. She loves a cheeky wee sleep in too. She looks disgusted as I gently wake her up and I find myself silently willing her to stop clinging to me so I can hurriedly get her dressed. Still sandy eyed herself, I whip on some clothes before she’s awake enough to fight- and knowing I’m already 11 minutes late, I pick up all our gear.
Here’s where things get technical. By technical, I mean here is where Zahara decides we have all the time in the world. She sniffs every flower and touches every leaf. She asks for something that’s back in the house or she decides it is time to tantrum about something out of my control. I’m so loaded up that I can’t pick her up- even if she’d let me- and instead we have this face off on the path to the car, where I am panicked about how late we are and if Zahara walked any slower she’d actually be moving backwards. Finally, we get into the car. Zahara usually lets me buckle her in without much fuss, but when we are running REALLY late, she planks her wee self until I let her attempt to use the clips herself.
We are finally on the road. The whole way to and from her home based carer, I pray that the traffic will part, like my Suzuki swift has some sort of vehicular leprosy. In fact, I’m so panicked about being late that I start brainstorming ways to spread the rumour myself. It feels like all the worst drivers in Canterbury take our route to work and I realise how thankful I am that Fletch, Vaughan and Megan are so funny- and that their hilarity ensures I’m not engulfed by late-based-road-rage. It’s a thing.
We get to Z’s carer’s, I drop her, and her breakfast, off (thank Christchurch for home based care) and then start the 25 minute commute back to my work, which- long story short- is 2 blocks away from my house. Cruel, I know.
The whole way back I nervously watch the digital clock on the top of my dashboard and I kick myself for spending that extra 10 minutes in bed. What seemed like such a good idea at the time has become my greatest regret. And I fantasize about what life would be like if I was a functional middle aged woman who was actually able organise herself better and live on more than adrenaline and sugar free red bull.
Finally I manage to pull into school, usually with only a few minutes to spare. Sometimes, when I’m actually late and it’s a morning briefing day, I have to sneak through the men’s toilets so that I don’t walk right past the principal while he’s talking and be the shame of the staffroom. It’s a really delicate balance, shuffling in while you’re obviously late. You have to make sure you look suitably remorseful without looking like a puffing, scarlet faced, sloth of a woman who obviously isn’t in control of her life. Someone will usually say to me, ‘are you ok Aeronwy?’ and I’ll try to act all casual like every day is my wedding and its fashionable to be late- but actually I’m dying a little bit inside.
And then, there is always a then, I’ll get one of 3 responses…
- Back in my day, when I was a single mum with 10 children, I got them all ready and out of the house with 5 hours to spare. AND We had to walk 12 miles in the snow and chop 10 tons of firewood before we got to work.
- I have no kids/ adult kids, but I looked after my niece/nephew/god child last night and I managed to get them to write a thesis, eat the 7 course breakfast that I cooked AND I cleaned my 3 bedroom mansion before I left for work this morning.
- Why don’t you just get up 5 minutes earlier and then you wouldn’t be late to work.
All great ‘suggestions’. None of them helpful.
Then I start my work day. Teaching 100 teenagers.
That’s a story for another time.