The working mother, threadworms and associated mothering fails

The working mother, threadworms and associated mothering fails

04 Oct 13:00 by Claire Maclachlan


As a working mother with her own business and a very competitive driven nature I felt like it should be my duty to be on top of EVERYTHING.  In a world of social media, NCT rose tinted expectations and school drops in my mind all I saw was all these perfectly manicured yummy mummies who suspiciously appeared to be on top of EVERYTHING.  I've learnt not to beat myself up about the small things as the reality of working motherhood is never what I envisaged it would be.  I can never be the mother I thought I would be, or the business owner I wanted to be, pre arrival of my very precious small boy.  Having a child was always on my life plan, as well as going it alone in the world of recruitment.  With hindsight combining the two might have been more sensible done a stage at a time.  In my twenties.  With a considerable gap to preserve my sanity.  

Not so long ago I received a text about a threadworm outbreak from school.  My heart sank.  This is a step up from the nit checks I have had to do previously.  With the help of google I am feeling all the more apprehensive and quite frankly enraged that these critters exist in middle class Warwickshire village schools.  This might be one for Nana. The threadworm text has really brought it home to me, as it stands this month I have found my first 3 grey hairs, had to wipe the bottom of my 7 year old child, had to bribe my child with football card rewards to get dressed for school, call his bluff and take small boy in the car in his pants (his clothes hidden on the front seat - I'm not that mean yet), take forgotten coats in to school, forget to return certain forms to school, all around a very intense period at work and 2 days of some dreadful lurgy.  So the threadworm text today was really the last thing I needed on Friday after a hard week.  Every time the nits text comes through I get an attack of the paranoid itches.  What on earth was the threadworm possibility going to do to me?  Nothing vaguely appropriate for keeping up appearances in an office that's for sure.

I used to be the type of woman that loved killer heels and beautiful suits.  Granted, I've always been a tom boy, but never did I envisage turning up to school drop off with wet hair, no makeup, my new 3 grey hairs, sporting whatever flat shoes I have in the car (usually muddy riding boots) to facilitate a game of sharks and fishes in the playground.  Surrounded by the idea of the type of woman I thought I'd be I am the one in the midst of the game with a bunch of seven year olds whilst the other mothers, who look to the outsider like they are on top of EVERYTHING and perfectly manicured) natter amongst each other with the occasional, "where DO you get your energy from".

I have learnt to laugh at my mothering fails (why do you always lose everything mummy?, why didn't you know it was wear your own clothes day mummy? that sick feeling in your stomach when a colleague at work has a teacher training day and you triple check the website, calendar, work diary, home diary then eventually just phone the school to double check.)

I often wonder whether other mothers have the same mothering fails I do. Like once instinctively catching a whole human poo coming out of your toddlers bare bottom to prevent carnage on the carpet. Or perhaps they just don't tell people. I now know that everyone has what I once perceived as 'mothering fails', perhaps most aren't as blunt or vocal about them as I am, or perhaps they too have got to the stage where the things we would beat ourselves up for as parents aren't in fact fails, they are part of the colourful journey.

If I didn't work the chances are I would be on top of all these once perceived mothering fails.  My world would mostly revolve around my child.  My child would have done all his homework, I'd not lose twenty billion jumpers and I'd have time to check newsletters, letters, diaries, website and notes on the school door to collate a complete diary of all the things mothers of seven year old boys need to do and remember.  But would I be such an inspiration to my son? When he asks me why I have to go to work I tell him it's because it's important to work hard and provide for him, he sees his mummy working late from home and up early in the morning and still taking the time to play sharks and fishes with his friends.  It's critical to me that he grows up knowing you work hard and make things happen for yourself, that he sees and benefits from a happy mummy.  It would however, universe, be greatly appreciate if you could wangle it so he would refrain from telling me he needs a really big poo when I am on the phone to a client working from home next time he is sick and off school.

I was a little stumped as to what picture to use for this blog, so it stayed blank. Until my son snap chatted me from Nana's the very evening I wrote this.  What flashed up, to my horror, might actually be my little darling with the head of a threadworm.