Chapter 1

The First Week of School

September 18, 2018

As every year, the first week of school is fucking stressful. Kids are already tired and cranky in the afternoons, the traffic is driving me ballistic, and the money goes out in doubles. There are the arts and crafts lessons, singing, music, Spanish … and the shoes and the wellies and the raincoats and anything and everything else you can think of we, the parents, have to pay for in September.

Of course, I don’t mind investing in my kid’s education, quite the opposite. I believe every penny spend on education is worth it. But I would still like to know why everything must be so bloody expensive when it comes to kids and their education?!?

Jim, my husband doesn’t share my enthusiasm about investment in education. His educational belief system is pretty limited. According to him, kids ought to work hard at school and learn everything there, not at the after-school clubs or during extra tutorials or activities. He believes that a child should show some interest in a particular subject before extra help, or additional lessons are offered.

In reality, education is just one of many fundamental values we disagree on.

At the start of any relationship, no one wants to see how opposing beliefs can break that relationship.

Even once we were married, I still hoped he would change his mind and see what I see. But unfortunately, it never happened.

Another “frustration he constantly experiences with me” – these are his words, not mine, is that I bring zero money in. He’s already forgotten that it was his idea for me to stay at home with the girls.

Instead of paying someone else to look after our kids, I was going to look after them. Apparently, it was cheaper than having a nanny and a cleaner and pay for my travel to work.

Leaving my career to be a full-time stay at home, mum was a huge mistake, to put it mildly… Somehow it slips his mind that I was the breadwinner before we had kids. I was the one who supported his crazy startup ideas and always believed that he was going to succeed.

I still don’t understand how insane I must have been to think it was a good idea to give up my career in my prime to become… a perfect nobody.

Unfortunately, after having two kids, I’m not considered a valuable asset to the majority of employers. They look at me and see a liability. Yes, our modern, advanced society seems to believe that the moment a woman becomes a mother, she loses all abilities to think, work, and be productive. The small fact that dudes run most companies doesn’t help our cause. The prejudice against working mothers is massive and growing stronger.

Every single year during the first week of school, Jim and I argue a ton. The tension between us doesn’t help with my physical and mental exhaustion. Our constant arguments leave me to drain and wishing I could dissolve into nothingness. He always knows, which buttons to push and words to use to make me feel small and insignificant. The sad truth is that I’ve only recently realised how much his words and actions affect my self-esteem. Most of the days, I feel small and irrelevant.

I feel like I completely lost myself just to please, Jim, who doesn’t even see me as a person any longer.

Shake it off… shake it off.. enough of self-pity.

My girls are always happy to be back at school with all their friends. I also love that my coffee mornings with other mums are back. We usually don’t see each other over the summer. The community takes a break from being a community; maybe it’s for the best and helps to avoid unnecessary conflicts.

Both of my girls go to an independent school, which I feel is a perfect fit for their needs. It costs shit lots of money, but money is irrelevant to me when it comes to education. The girls like the school, love their teachers and each morning are happy to put their shoes on, pick up their school bags and go off.

I love the freedom of the summer holidays offer the late nights and lazy mornings. But there is nothing like a quiet house after a hot, humid, and sticky summer. I treasure the space and the quietness that falls upon the house when September arrives.

I know that if you asked Jim about what I do during the time the girls are at school, he would most likely say: “nothing”.

But the reality is very different. I cook, clean, do the shopping, do the laundry, look after the garden, sell stuff we don’t need any more on eBay and most importantly I’m a writer. Or I should rather say that I try to write. I was a writer in my previous life. For some reason, words don’t come to me as easily as they used to.

My previous job BC (before children) involved lots of writing. I was a senior copywriter in a fancy ad agency which didn’t believe my motherhood could add any value to their company once my maternity leave was over. Fuck them and the dude in charge. Sorry, the creep would love that so no. I’m just gonna fuck his narrow-minded teeny-tiny brain.

After years of procrastination, I’m back to writing… I’m trying to write again and possibly in the process get my working life back. I didn’t tell anyone that I was writing again. First of all, I don’t need more pressure than I already have; secondly, I don’t want to get my hopes up too high. It’s writing, it’s highly competitive, personal and I’m starting from scratch. With creativity and creative life, you can’t plan that much ahead.

At the moment I’m silently excited that I’m opening a new chapter in the middle of my old life.

Move on to Chapter 2 “My Knee Is In Pain Again”