I have ended up at work. Despite feeling even worse than yesterday the guilt at not being there yet again assailed me like a battering ram until I gave into it and dragged myself out of bed in the manner of a corpse attempting to walk. Fittingly I look and feel like death and productivity levels today have hovered around the zero mark.
Meanwhile daughter no 2 has developed a bladder infection, yet again. The surgery require a water sample. This seemingly easy to achieve task may as well comprise putting up an IKEA flat pack chest of drawers for all that I am capable of managing it.
We could not leave the sample at the surgery last night as too much time would have elapsed before it was tested. It is not possible to drop it off until after 9.30 in the morning even though the surgery is open before this. No logical explanation is offered by the receptionist for this anomalous state of affairs, other than to repeat in a tone that does not invite further query that it will not be possible. I have to leave for work every day by 8.15 – work is 20 miles away and a 45 minute trip. The doctor’s surgery is 10 minutes in the wrong direction. When I explain this I am met with a disapproving eyebrow that implies I am putting my career before my child and should be ashamed of myself.
I carry on, very reasonably, not yet rising to her, that as the hospital to which the sample will be conveyed later in the day is in the very city that I work in I could drop it off myself there at lunchtime. I am informed firmly, but not to my surprise, that this will not be possible either. The only other alternative, she advises sniffily , would be for me to drop the bottle off after school but before 4 when the samples are picked up. This means I would need to leave work early – i.e. before 3 o clock in the afternoon to get back to sort out the sample. I have an afternoon meeting, I cannot do this, regardless of the fact that my working day does not finish until 5.30. By this point her lips are pursing into an o resembling an angry prune. I suspect she is considering phoning social services. “I should STRESS the importance of getting this water sample tested,” she snaps, as if I were unaware of this fact.
Meanwhile I have received a letter about parent consultations next week. “Sign up for your preferred times in the foyer before or after school!” This drives me crazy. Where is the emailed accept/decline appointment? I know that I am being unreasonable when almost all of the mothers at the school do not work but Why Why Why? can they not operate like normal people rather than living in the dark ages and requiring parents with insane lives to physically sign up on a piece of paper inside a school they rarely set foot in? I do a drive by drop off at 8.25 when the foyer is not open. I do not pick up, the nanny does and she will get it wrong, even if she isn’t too late which is more than likely. I am at work. I have three children at the school and in order to book their appointments I need to coordinate them cleverly so that I do not end up sitting there for three hours in between.
The yummy mummy stay at home mothers with all the time in the world will be in there first thing tomorrow morning taking their pick of the best slots. The thought of this drives me further crazy. I cannot hang around or I will be late dropping child no 4 off at his school, a state of affairs which throws him into a condition akin to hysteria at the fear of a demerit. I want to email the school secretary to ask her to put my name down, but last time I did this she sent me a snotty note back in similar tones to that of the doctor’s receptionist telling me that most of the slots were now taken by those parents who had come in as requested (my italics but she didn’t need them) and gave me some carefully chosen times that meant I had to sit there for three hours anyway.
As if the working parent were not guilt ridden enough.
Anyway, there followed various phone calls begging yet further favours from friends and an early morning excursion to drop a small bottle of urine in a labelled plastic bag off, along with complex instructions as to dates and times for the consultations. And I was still late for both child no 4s drop off at school (tears etc) and work (tut tutting from secretaries aka self appointed prefects).