Apparently yesterday – Monday 4th February – was the most likely day in the year for Brits to pull a sickie. I do love these completely meaningless stats that some poor person has to dream up in order to pad out the morning news bulletins. It’s not exactly earth-shattering that Monday 4th February is fairly unpopular with the working population and not one on which we leap out of bed full of the joys – after all it is a Monday in the most god-awful month of the year in the UK.
There is very little to recommend February in the UK. I know that in January I wrote a defence of January and I stand by that. However, I’m afraid I find it less easy to defend February. It’s cold, it’s dark, there’s no bank holidays for ages. In fact, the only positive thing about February is that it is the shortest month.
Unfortunately for those in my line of work, pulling a sickie is not an option. As much as I might like to pull my duvet over my head, hide and only emerge to shout profanities at anyone who dares to approach me, I can’t. There’s no sick pay in my job. Actually when I think about it, there is no holiday entitlement, no overtime, no time off in lieu and no bonus either. Funny really when what I do is one of the most relentless, time-consuming, all-encompassing, unappreciated occupations. When my daughter shouted at me the other day that she wanted a new mummy, I almost felt sorry for her. She can’t fire me, she can’t even make me redundant. She’s stuck with me – my contract is for life! Apart from the obvious joys that parenting brings, there are upsides to this job – no power-crazy boss to report to (if you exclude my children); no office politics; no commute. On balance, I am a fairly satisfied employee of “Motherhood”. Anyway, even if I wasn’t, I couldn’t really go on strike – who would cook dinner? Who would drive the taxi? Who would do the laundry?
So yesterday, even though I knew that joining the masses in a duvet day was not an option for me, I can’t really say that I leapt out of bed, champing at the bit to get cracking on another fun-filled Monday in February. In fact, yesterday, was one of those days that just passed without any real input from me. I must have looked fairly shambolic as at least three people on the school run asked if I was feeling OK. One person passed off my neglected appearance by reasoning that since I was wearing tracksuit trousers, I was going to do some exercise. Obviously this was not the case, I just couldn’t be a**** to get dressed properly – in fact, if my pyjamas hadn’t been pink stripey brushed-cotton obviously pyjamas, I’d have kept them on all day. Not, of course, that I told her that – I just nodded – just a little head movement that wasn’t a lie as such, more of an acknowledgement. As I have said before in my blog, I often dress as if I am doing exercise in order for people to think that is what I have done (it’s almost as good as doing the exercise itself, go on try it!) and I am absolutely convinced I am not alone in this little sartorial trick.
So today, well now it’s Tuesday and after “no effort at all” Monday, I decided this morning that I would make some effort with my appearance. I not only brushed my hair but I also put on make-up. This is not the normal state of affairs for the school run and it would appear to have unsettled the children somewhat. My elder son wanted to know where I was going – he was not convinced by my “nowhere special” response. My younger son was more to the point. He said “are you feeling ok, mummy, it’s just that your face looks sweaty”. The sweaty look that he was referring to was my very expensive Laura Mercier illuminating tinted moisturiser. It would appear that its slightly too good at its job – giving more of a perspiration look than a ladylike “glow”. My daughter was much more interested in the lipstick I was wearing – she looked at it intently before asking me if she could wear lipstick when she’s 4 – I looked at her benignly – I can always rely on my daughter to appreciate how I look. This solidarity was quickly swept away however when she said that when she wore lipstick (when she’s 4 apparently), she wouldn’t wear a colour anything like the one I had on. Excellent, so before I’ve even got out of the front door, my effort to make an effort has been totally obliterated by my delightful children.
So tomorrow if you see a woman on the school run wearing tracksuit trousers with unbrushed hair and no make-up – it’s me and before you ask, no, I’m not going to do any exercise and yes, I’m feeling fine, thanks. That is not to say that I wouldn’t rather be hiding under my duvet, emerging only to shout profanities at anyone brave (or stupid) enough to approach me.