Back in the day, when I was single and my main worry in life was running out of cornflakes, I would spend my hard-earned cash on lovely handbags: impractical handbags, handbags with their own dust bags, handbags that were literally works of art. If I saw someone with a new bag I would immediately notice it and, now and again, feel a little pang of jealousy. Shallow, I know.
But how my life has changed. I am a mother now. My handbag collection totals, er…three. One is black, one is brown, one is navy blue (for those fancy occasions). And do I still get a bit jealous? Hell yes! Is this general bitterness handbag-related? Hell no!
My Top Five Mum Envies:
1) Grandparent Envy. My partner and I now live and work a long way from our original homes and therefore our parents are not on hand for babysitting duties, popping in whilst at the dentist, or generally being there for a good old whinge and a cuppa. So, that’s my biggest source of jealousy – hearing when friends are going away for the night (what?!) or just easing their childcare bill a little because their children go to their parents’ house one day a week. It must be nice. Sorry guys, I’m a teensy bit jealous of you.
2) Tinted-Window Envy. The other night a friend was explaining that her soon-to-be delivered new family car had tinted rear windows. She explained that they would be a godsend because they were just fed-up of their children yanking down the suction-attached pull-down roller sun blinds on their car windows. And do you know what? I was green with envy! We have one of those very same suction-cup sun blind thingies, and believe me, at times I’ve wanted to throw it out of the window whilst driving down the M5. It seems to be classed as ‘in-car entertainment’ to my toddler, who just loves pressing the little blind-release button. What is my life coming to? I’ve just admitted to being envious of slightly darkened car windows. Send gin.
3) Organised Mum Envy. I sometimes feel like I’m getting through life on a wing and a prayer. When I see people with organised houses and baby wipes on hand for all the right spillages, I wish I could be equally organised. I dream of being the mum who reminds everyone that the school photographs are next Thursday and that it’s Fancy Dress day at nursery tomorrow. Fortunately I have some amazingly kind pals who know to send me a quick text to remind me of these key events, as I’m bound to have forgotten. But sometimes, I wish it was me. Just once.
4) Pre-Work Preparation Envy. A work colleague helpfully commented the other day that I was looking a bit tired (yeah, thanks) and suggested that I follow some simple meditation techniques every morning before I get ready for work. Apparently, he advised, all I need is 30 minutes of peace and quiet every morning. I resisted the urge not to spit my coffee in his face and tell him that I’m lucky if I get 30 minutes of peace and quiet every month. A mum friend of mine told me how her female workmates had been comparing notes in the office on the various ‘contouring’ techniques they use as part of their early morning make-up routine. Contouring? CONTOURING?! So, a quick swipe of foundation is no longer enough? Yes, I am jealous of every person out there who can spare thirty minutes on contouring techniques whilst meditating. Maybe some people just have too much time on their hands?
5) Weekend Envy. You know the drill. Every Monday morning, back at work, we are all obliged to ask our colleagues if they’ve had a good weekend. I now have a well-rehearsed response that goes along the lines of ‘yeah, it was great. Just family stuff, but it was great.’ I do this because nobody wants to hear that for 90% of the time my toddler has been screaming in the corner, screaming on the naughty step, or generally shouting ‘NO!’. That my five-year-old is continually bored, even if I’ve prepared an elaborate picnic, got out the dreaded Play Doh or tried to do something ‘crafty’ with him. The truth is, my weekends are generally exhausting, thankless and (dare I say it?) sometimes, I look forward to going back to work.
So, those are the five things guaranteed to bring out the green-eyed monster for this particular jealous mother. Me? Bitter? Erm…sometimes. But one thing I do know?
I have a gin collection that is the envy of many.
p.s. Oh, and two great kids.