SWB and the overwhelm

A friend of mine posted on Instagram that she tends to ‘malfunction in September.’ ‘You and me both!’ thought I. Anyone else struggling to adjust to the pace ? I’ve been more clumsy and disorganised than usual, prompting LSB to inquire, ‘How much wine did you have last night?’ after I had hit the milk a clatter and sent it flying all over the counter. The unfortunate dog got a good dowsing too. ‘I’ll be bathing her later then,’ said Himself with a sigh.

I blame the Small Child, for generously sharing her ‘back to school cold’. I felt ghastly last week, and on Monday shuffled down the stairs, red of nose and hoarse of throat. LSB handed me a cup of coffee which I took over to the sofa. Next thing I knew he reappeared. ‘I thought you’d left! I said, about to admonish him for being late. ‘I’m back!’ he replied, and yes indeed, it was ten to ten and he’d even taken the long route to give the dog her walk. Meanwhile, I had come downstairs and needed a doze to recover from the exertion. Nothing else for it but to pop my coffee into the microwave and return to bed, where I stayed until two o’clock. Might I suggest stocking up on the Berocca and wiring it into you pronto, because this strain of the cold is a bad’un.

One of the myths of parenthood is that ‘it gets easier’, but I’m not convinced as I think it just changes. Now, with my girls aged nine and ten, I struggle a bit with their nonchalance at the school gates. Today I thought back to the first time I left my eldest for a ‘settling in session’ at creche when she was eight months old. After I handed her over, I told the girl in charge of the baby room that I was ‘a bad mother’ for ‘abandoning’ my child (ever the dramatist.) She reassured me that no, I wasn’t a terrible person, and sent me on my way. I still think of her fondly.

To distract myself, I went into Graffiti for lunch. I ordered a bowl of mushroom soup, and tried to make my crying as inconspicuous as possible, though I’m not sure how well I succeeded, especially since it’s an intimate sort of a space. Soup supped and tears shed, I set off to collect the baby, (early) who seemed quite unperturbed by my having deserted her. More perturbed was I, when I looked in the car mirror and saw that I had black chunks of mushroom lodged in my teeth, so I looked like I’d left the creche aged 32 and returned a red-eyed crone with severe tooth decay.

Let’s just accept it- parenting is a head-wrecker. So whatever stage you are at right now- whether that be dropping babies to creche, or children to school or students to university, it’s quite acceptable to feel a bit unhinged. The true extent of my madness was revealed on Monday when I watched the Queen’s funeral and found myself in tears. I snivelled when her ladies in waiting arrived, looking bereft. I welled up when I saw Edward dabbing his eyes with a pristine linen handkerchief. The picture of the wee corgis later almost undid me. I caught LSB looking at me as though thinking ‘Who the hell have I married?’ I’ve never been one been filled with patriotic fervour but I did like the Queen. Imtiaz Dhakar did a beautiful reflection last Wednesday which was beautiful and tackled some of the thorny issues around royalty. It’s worth a listen.

Anyway, if you are feeling the overwhelm right now, I think it’s quite justified. There’s a lot going on and it’s also far too warm for flipping September which is making my hot flushes even more feverish. Hopefully I’ll be functioning better by October, but I doubt it.


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