Four ways for parents to tell it's time for a leetle more adult company
1. You drive past some kind of heavy machinery and cry "Ooh! Look! A big fire engine! Nee-nah, nee-nah!". And realise too late there is no small child with you in the car. Just adults giving you puzzled looks.
2. You make a sandwich for yourself and automatically cut the crusts off.
3. You no longer have any clothes that require drycleaning. (Actually you do, but they are past saving).
4. You accidentally refer to yourself as "mummy", in the third person, when speaking to someone in officialdom.
This has been rather a watershed week, hence the shamefully light blogging action. Freelance work is now piling in thick and fast enough that I can't put off the need for some kind of childcare any longer.
I've never thought I was cut out for full time motherhood, greatly as I respect those who can manage it: I'm essentially too selfish for it, and need the stimulation of work. Nonetheless, although the plan was always to work part time, I've been dragging my feet and dreading re-entering the whole childcare thing.
There's nothing more terrifying than trying to choose someone to be in loco parentis, even if it is for only 20 hours a week: I'm torn between fiercely not wanting my son to be with anyone but me, and realising that trying to squeeze work in around him is doing neither of us any good.
Right now work infiltrates all of our life together: I'm fobbing him off during the daytime while I check my emails or take a phone call, then staying up until the small hours writing while he's asleep. The family isn't getting my full attention and I'm never really able to relax.
What I'm hoping is that a couple of days' childcare will make me better at drawing proper lines in the sand: I have to learn to confine work to the two or three days I planned for, leaving the rest of the week for the family, rather than letting work sneak its way in and around everything else. Like damming a river in one place, rather than letting it flood unpredictably everywhere.
So after a few false starts, we think we've now found a decent childminder: cross your fingers for the settling in period.
Am cheering myself up by thinking that at least I'm not Katie Holmes. Allegedly (well according to Grazia), Tom Cruise is seeking an actress to play Mary Poppins 24 hours a day in their home, instead of a real nanny for their three year old daughter Suri (she of the rather disturbing toddler high heels). Apparently Suri saw the musical and said she wanted La Poppins to look after her.
I dimly remember vowing never to judge anyone else's childcare choices, so I won't: I really won't. I will just bite the keyboard, quite hard.