I am a terrible mother. I have always suspected it, but tonight it has been unequivocally confirmed.
I had to work today (that’s not the bit that makes me a terrible mother, although I accept it may be a contributory factor) and as the nanny doesn’t come at weekends my mother came over to look after the children.
I work a lot – every week day in fact – so the children and I are very used to our routine. Each morning at around seven o’clock I inhale a cup of tea, drop a kiss on three foreheads and head off to work. The nanny spends the day providing the children with stimulating and educational entertainment, and I return at five or six o’clock once they’ve had their supper. It’s a system. It works.
My mother is not used to the system, and indeed there is no reason why she should be. So when I arrived home from work I should perhaps have listened to her outline the day’s activities, instead of immediately bundling her in the car with a clutch of freshly laid hen’s eggs and a headache. I should perhaps not have so readily shooed the children away from the biscuit tin as I munched my way through a tea-time Garibaldi.
Because now that the children are in bed, this is what I have remembered. The children haven’t had any supper. None.
I am consumed with guilt and considering waking them up to force-feed them beans on toast. I have yet to admit my heinous crime to my husband, who is blissfully unaware he married a neglectful slattern.
But you know what makes me even more of a terrible mother? After I realised my shocking omission, my next thought was not “oh goodness, they’ll be so hungry”. Oh no. My primary concern was, “what if the hunger pangs wake them – and therefore me – in the middle of the night?”
I’m going on the run before my licence for motherhood is revoked. But first I’m going to lay the table for breakfast.