Some mornings my life feels completely alien. I leave the nursery and can’t believe that somebody else is looking after my child for the day. He’s so little: how has he already got a part of his life that is so separate from mine? I’m already drafting emails for work by the time I get to the gate of the nursery: I worry that it’s unnatural to flick from one life to another so quickly and easily.
The run up to Christmas is tough. I did the first settling in nursery sessions this time last year, and hated it. The children are run down and snotty. The carers are run down and snotty. The sun never comes up: the perfectly bright and airy room that Rhys is in looks dull and oppressive in this half light of December. I should be hibernating with my little boy, making Christmas decorations and biscuits and singing carols.
Back onto what’s tough about mornings: it’s lovely when I have evening plans. A few hours of not being a mother, an employee, a wife, of just being me, re-sets me. Calms me, stills those itchy feet. But the thought, as I walk through those nursery gates at 8am with my blackberry out, that it’s the end of my parenting for the day, is impossible to process. Becoming a wife was straightforward: it sat in the background of my other roles, as friend, sister, daughter, colleague, warm and comforting and wrapped them all up. Being a mum at the moment feels absolute: either I am cuddling the boy, changing nappies, negotiating mealtimes, or I am something else. Motherhood is not background noise: maybe it will become this as the boy grows up, but right now it is either foreground or forgotten.
These lives really are competing.