Most work mornings I hold it together pretty well. I have to get out the door at 7.50am to be sitting at my desk by 9, including daycare drop-off and about a 50 minute commute. With all the palaver that goes on before it, stepping out of the door with mascara on, toddler dressed and sense of humour intact is no small victory; but usually I get there.
Today was not one of those mornings.
Eyes peel open to clock blinking 7.09am. Hey...I got out of bed 20 minutes ago, when my alarm went off, didn't I? Remember turning it off at least. Check self. No, assuredly am still in bed. Maybe has something to do with the four times Little Red got me up last night, but boss generally not interested in those kinds of excuses, so must haul ass.
Jump into the world's quickest shower and then bang around in the kitchen, very loudly, making a bowl of porridge until Little Red emerges, sweet and sleepy-eyed in her striped feety pyjamas. "Mummy," she says reproachfully "You woke me up!"
"OH, did I sweetheart?" (Fist-pump) "I didn't mean to... here, let's put on Hi-5".
Make Red some toast, gobble my own breakfast and coffee and scuttle back to the ensuite to throw together The Look. The Look generally consists of whatever clothes I chose last night (morning closet-debates are the luxury of the child-free employee), either a brush through the hair only, or a ponytail (today, a ponytail) and makeup. Always makeup because; well, a girl's got to have something :) Colleagues may come to work with ironed locks and carefully put-together outfits but at least I have blush and lippy on goddamit.
7.45am. Late late late late late. Go out to lounge to check on progress of Little Red's breakfast. There's a lot of dancing to Hi-5 going on; pillows strewn from the couch and cat cowering in the corner, but not a lot of toast being eaten. "EAT YOUR TOAST!" I yell, simultaneously putting a load of laundry on, feeding the cat and pulling my lunch out of the fridge. Miraculously toast is consumed, although how one can dance and eat jam toast is a mystery to me. 7.50am.
Turn Hi-5 off to squeals of protest. "Go to the toilet," I say. "I don't want to go to the toilet!!" LR protests. "Yes you DO!" I say and physically pull her undies down and sit her on it. Lots of pouting. Then, "I want to do a poo." "GOOD!", I say, thinking 'you've got to be kidding me'. "Do a poo! And do it quickly," I add.
"No, I want to do a poo on the potty! I don't want to be a big girl!"
7.55am. This is a battle I'm not going to broach this morning. The damn potty comes out. Contemplate brushing her hair and partially dressing her while she's on the potty but stop myself. Instead, hover over her with hairbrush and school clothes in hand. "Have you done your poo yet? Do it NOW please!" I plead with increasing shrillness after minutes 1, 2 and 3 tick by.
"No," Little Red says serenely. "I don't think I want to this morning. I might go at school"
Right. Clothes and hair. Clothes go on with lightning speed - batting off suggestions of "I do it," with a look that could vaporize Medusa herself. The hair though, won't be compromised on. The battle lines are drawn.
"I want DOLLY hair, mummy; not DOGGY hair" (plaits, not ponytails). "YOU'RE GETTING DOGGY HAIR!" I shriek, completely at the end of my tether now. LR goes silent. "mummy, you angry."
I immediately melt and give her a big cuddle. I explain at length that yes mummy's angry, and mummy is sorry, but if mummy is late for work, I get in big trouble and we don't have money to pay for nice things and more importantly, the roof over our heads. This, of course, goes straight over her head but I feel a bit better.
8.05am. Ridiculously late now. Bundle Little Red, bags, lunches and coats in car with promise of listening to Incy Wincy Spider off the Playschool CD in the car.
Discover car is completely frosted over. Decide to back out of driveway anyway, with vision approximating that of a skiier in a blizzard. Back straight into hedge.
"For GOODNESS SAKE!" I exclaim with the well-trained restraint of the former potty-mouthed, but with the same fury as if I'd flung out a string of expletives.
"Mummy.... " came the small voice from the back. "... don't be so angry!"
I looked at the little face in the mirror, not even with jam wiped off it yet, and sunk back into my seat. "I'm sorry," I said and meant it. We spent the next 5 minutes (post hedge extricating) singing to the Playschool CD while the car defrosted. Bugger it; I'm going to be late anyway.
There extra hugs at preschool drop-off too... much much more to soothe my guilt than to comfort Little Red who'd already forgotten Angry Mummy the minute she saw her friends.
And a very long drive to work contemplating my bad-mumminess this morning.
Do you find yourself in situations like this or is it just me?