I was dismayed today when I was told I was a s***** mother. Well not me specifically but people like me.
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One young woman said once she had gotten married and started having children, she was going to stop working and devote her entire existence to rearing her brood. In her opinion, women who work and leave their children with maids or daycare have no business having babies.
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I felt like I had been slapped. I love my kids and I love my job. Should I have to choose? Can’t I have my cake and eat it? I suddenly understood the chagrined and pitying looks I get when I drop off my kids at school. In my work clothes every week day, it is pretty clear where I will be going. The speed with which I hustle the kids out of the car and into class and back, shows I am one of the Bracket .
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The school run at whatever time is murder and I look back at it during the weekend and wonder how I survived it. I start work at 8am but have to drop off the kids on the way. The first one off is the kindergarten one whose school gates open at 7:30am (if we are lucky) and I have to wait until they do. The Next is just a block over but the traffic by then will be so horrendous it will be 8 minutes after before I can drop her off. She starts school at 07:45am and a minute later she will be on punishment for being late. Then I have to fight and get back into the flow of traffic and get to work in 15 minutes.
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So why not drop off the 07:45 first? It will take me 40 more minutes to get to work instead of just the 15.
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I went for a sports day at my daughter’s school where I had produced my almost successful attempt at banana muffins for the teas and one of the teachers said, “You are the type of mother we like. Not one of those career women.” And I thought, wow. It just so happened to be one of my days off otherwise I would have dropped in for a few minutes and promptly gone back to work. The female teacher was at work though and she was judging career women.
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I love my kids and will have some more. I will probably be a basket case by the time they leave home, with school runs, bake sales, PTA meeting when I am knackered from all the above and a day at work but I will not apologize for who I am. And then they will leave the nest. And Who will I be?
Over the past few weeks I have done some soul searching in my search for who I am to better understand myself and become a better individual. I have known for sometime that I am a coward and unable to stand on my own and admitting this truth has set me free. I do not particularly like that part of myself. It is one of the major aspects of my character that I will work on to improve my well-being. I went home (kumusha) this weekend. Whenever I feel I am losing it, I go home to see my mom and dad. I took the bus. Bad Idea. I don’t like buses. I don’t like the smells, the rubbing of shoulders and other body parts, the noise, the music. The buses never run on time and it was raining so it took longer. Another thing I hate. They stop for what I think is no apparent reason. So if you have come from home and board the bus at 1 in the afternoon chances are you will only need a bathroom break in maybe 3 hours but why they would need to stop two hours later for people to eat and for 25 minutes is beyond me! I sat next to a nursing mother and had a horrible time. I am a mother of three and I am sure there are some assumptions I have made but never that I could just hand over my baby to a stranger whilst I looked for a diaper in the depths on my bag under my seat. I was shocked into inaction and automatically took the baby who smelled of unsavory and unpalatable nappy. Nappy is that distinct cloying nappy smell which can permeate everything and everyone. So there I was holding the baby as far away from me as my short arms could. It appeared as if I had been holding the baby for a long time but it was just a few minutes. I promptly changed where I was sitting because she immediately started changing the baby right there and then. She gave me dirty looks from then on, you know that look that says ‘you are a woman and you should not find poo disgusting’. As if!
I hadn’t been on the bus in a while and this being a chicken bus did not make the re experience a gratifying on. I had to make a connection at Chaka. Had to wait for the Kombi to fill up in the biting cold and it also started to rain. The mere 31 kilometers of dust road took almost two hours to cover and I was miserable by the time I got home. I have driven this route and it has only taken me three and a half hours instead of the five that it took me (minus the two hours waiting time in between).
The return leg was no better with a bus philosopher (drunk of course – is there any other?) getting on the bus in Chivhu. He managed to make almost everyone laugh (with his crude sense of humor), make me angry (because of his chauvinistic attitude) and frighten everyone (when he whistled – the sound managed to penetrate the din of the bus radio and the loud bass of my earphones – to drown out the repetitive music) before he got off, stumbling and falling on his face.
Don’t like buses. Don’t like the music they play. Don’t like dirty babies. Don’t like waiting. Don’t like doing stuff by myself. Don’t like not liking stuff. 🙂 Will learn to like stuff.
So word to the wise; take a jacket with you when you are going on a long journey – even when the weather report says its going to be fine out. And for the chicken bus ride, just sit and relax; the smells will not kill you, the bus philosopher will leave at some point and you will arrive when you do.