I am a Bad Mother. And a Bad Wife. I’ve been both those things at various intervals over the years, but not generally at the same time. In fact I usually find I can either be a very good wife, at the expense of the children, or a very good mother, at the expense of my husband. Being good at both things at once is frankly far too much effort, especially when factoring in a full-time job, so I mostly settle for mediocrity across the board.
This week I am a bad mother because I am away from home for an entire week. That in itself doesn’t make me a bad mother; what makes me a bad mother is the fact that I’m enjoying it. I’m not pining for the children, I’m not missing my husband, I’m not homesick for my bed or desperate for home-comforts. I’m revelling in the ability to go running after work instead of tackling tea-time, to wallow in a scalding bath, and to work uninterrupted in the evenings without feeling guilty that I’m neglecting anyone.
Rather like me, the hotel itself is somewhat lacking in finesse. They’ve made an effort with the curtains, but the brown formica fitted dressing table with inbuilt clock radio gives away the room’s provenance, even before I lay eyes on the avocado bathroom suite. It’s quaint. To a point.
Last night I ate in the dining room and battled my way through the worst lasagne I have ever tasted. I proclaimed it quite delicious, as the Fawlty-esque owner cleared my table.
Tonight I steered well clear and ordered a seemingly innocuous pasta dish in a mushroom sauce. It was unspeakably bad, and I left my plate full and returned to my room when no-one was looking.
Barely ten minutes later there was a knock at the door and the hotel owner stood before me, proudly whipping a cloche from the tray he carried.
“I’m so sorry you didn’t like your meal”, he said. “I saw how much you enjoyed yesterday’s special, so I’ve brought you some more lasagne”
Maybe I’ll go home for dinner tomorrow.