"Stay on track and on time Thomas!"
Sadly this is my mantra this week, my brain is so addled and exhausted that this was the only affirmation I could come up with. I've been reduced to plagiarising a recorded voice from a mass produced, battery-operated toy. Anyone who has raised boys will no doubt have alarm bells ringing, yes, it is The Fat Controller from Thomas the Tank Engine. It must be the end of days.
Maybe this is my punishment for thoughtlessly overpopulating the planet, that my brain is now crammed with such imbecilic nonsense. If I was an earth mother, living in harmony with creation I'd be taking inspiration from waterfalls and mountains, swimming naked in billabongs and plaiting feathers and crystals into my hair. But I'm not.
I'm a full time mother, stuck here amongst piles of laundry and mess, relentlessly doing the job day after day for enough cash to buy a few coffees and little recognition or thanks. Oh! Except for one day of the year - one!! - yes, Mother's Day where I get a couple of indestructible white carnations in cellophane and we behave like a fake family for a day because everyone is under strict instructions to BE NICE TO ME all day. If only every day could be like Mother's Day, but they're not.
You see I'm one of the 'sandwich generation', stuck between bringing up young children and looking after ageing parents. Oh, and my husband - but at least he contributes something to the relationship, albeit along with a lot of complaining, so I don't mind washing his clothes...
If I'd read the job description would I really have taken the job? On call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, endless brain-cell killing menial work, no guarantee at times of even the most basic human luxuries - taking a shower or using the loo in privacy. At times I work in unsanitary conditions, and have to deal with all manner of toxic filth... need I go on?
Added to this there's the stress of the job. I thought deadlines in the graphic design industry were bad, they're nothing compared to the urgency of motherhood. If a two year old wants tomato sauce with his sausage for dinner you have two options - get it, or listen to him scream. Ha ha ha - you try 'teaching' him to wait... And then there are the demands of my father, he thinks he's about to die any minute so obviously his needs should be top priority.
All these urgencies mean that a lot of the time my own ambitions get sidetracked. It's hard work keeping focused on my own shit.
Okay, so I wish I could meditate every day but if there's one thing about meditating... you can't multi task it. (I've tried meditating while washing the dishes, it doesn't work). And my life depends on multi-tasking. It's not because women's brains are better at multi-tasking, it's that without it we would DIE and the world would stop.
Who cares if men can read maps better? We've got Google Maps and SatNav.
But multi-tasking, there's no App for it. There's women. Hardcore, indestructible, military-issue women - when it comes to multi-tasking we are the champions, we fill every role - chef, cleaner, nurse, repairer, taxi driver, counsellor, tutor, negotiator, bedfellow... but always, always, we're told we're not the Boss, expected to take the subservient positions and cow-tow to the ones holding the cheque books.
Anyway, back to the mantra. This week The Fat Controller is the boss and I'll do his bidding, because you see the mantra 'Stay on track and on time' is actually perfect for me this week. I'm moving my father into a retirement place, finally after five long years of negotiating and weeks of hell organising everything from removalists to cutlery drawers to giant Y-Front underpants, and then I'm leaving the mess and the chaos behind.
I'm packing my passport and a suitcase for me and me alone - my first holiday solo in ten long years. A friend at playgroup is taking her first child-free holiday next week too - she's going to Melbourne to get a boob job. Good for her. I'm going to New York City. Don't hate me too much. This week instead of broadcasting live from Gladesville Public Library I'll be on a jet plane. BRING IT ON.
If you have no time for reading - you can listen to my poem on YouTube here: 'This Is Not A Day for Making Plans'