This week I got my first phone call from Sonny Jim’s preschool.
I was working, as ever trying to squeeze eight hours work into four, and as I hung up the phone it rang almost immediately.
I answered without even looking, to hear the voice of Sonny Jim’s key worker telling me that he was “fine, well not fine, but okay.”
It transpired that my little lad was rather out of sorts. When we’d got up that morning he had seemed slightly off colour, but I assumed it was the very last of his teeth cutting (honestly, it sometimes seems like he’ll be riding a bike before those very back ones come through!) I gave him a bit of Calpol, jollied him along and he went off to preschool in his usual fashion, “bye mummy, be back soon!”
But he’d gone rather downhill since I’d left.
And in that moment as they told me he was really not himself, that he was sad and saying “my tummy hurt, my bum hurt, my mouth hurt” that he wasn’t eating his snack and he was very hot, I got all the pangs of mummy guilt.
And then simultaneously, felt the weight of the amount of work I had to do landing on my back.
I promised the preschool that I’d be there before lunch club to take him home and then set about frantically prioritising my to do lists, rescheduling interviews and listening to panpipes as I attempted to get through to our doctor’s surgery.
Juggling a job and a child is not easy. I’m luckier than most as I work from home. But still it can feel like we are expected to parent as those who don’t work and work as though we don’t have children.
So, if anyone has any ideas on how to shift the guilt I felt when I arrived at preschool to a little boy who burst into tears of relief and ran into my arms saying “mummy we go home now, please?” I’d love to hear them…