Today, I had a ‘bad day at work’. I’ve been having a few of them lately, but this one, bringing as it did a definitive ‘no’ from a pending and desperately needed new business prospect, was quite spectacularly depressing.
On the one hand, having children has made bad days at work a whole lot easier to deal with. It’s just work, after all, and in the grand scheme of what’s important, I can usually get a fairly good sense of perspective. But, and here’s the problem, when you’ve chosen to leave your kids in childcare and go out to work, and you have a day where you don’t feel you achieve anything, it kind of makes a bad day at work twice as bad. Because you haven’t been with your kids, AND it wasn’t even worth it! Failing on all fronts, give that gal a high five!
Today, after the bad day at work, I came straight home because my husband had done the nursery pick up. I rushed through the front door, having comforted myself all afternoon with the image of 2 adoring (and hopefully freshly bathed) children flinging their arms around me lovingly and banishing all thoughts of my workplace woes.
What actually happened, was that I could hear the cacophony of toddler and baby crying before I’d even got the door fully open. Both children, catatonically tired from a full day at nursery, were throwing a simultaneous tantrum about being in the bath and not being in the bath. And not being allowed to eat a biscuit in the bath. And about wanting to go to bed and not being at all tired (all communicated through wailing).
Bags thrown hastily to the floor, I joined forces with my husband as we silently took a divide and conquer approach (aided by a dummy for the baby and the promise of THREE stories for the toddler). With both kids in bed and asleep in a matter of moments after lights out, I put my trainers on and headed out of the door for a run. Not, for once, because I felt like I should, but because I was desperate for the sense if release, and dare I say it, actual achievement. I ran until my legs hurt, pushing myself harder and further than usual, as if that would somehow wave a magic wand over the rest of the day.
And in a way, once I was home, it kind of did. For I came home to a house with a lovely husband and two wonderful (and crucially, sleeping) children. They both went to bed feeling happy and loved, and dreaming sweet dreams of Curious monkeys and deep sea adventures. I know that nothing has really changed for the better. I’m still not very happy at work, not sure I’m doing the right thing by working, and yet too saddled with a huge mortgage to do much about it. But my kids are (bath related tantrums aside), happy. God willing, they are healthy. I know I’m not getting it all right. But for tonight, for right now, that’s enough.