Now that I'm a full-time "working mum", weekends will never be the same again.
(Not that I wasn't working every day when I was fortunate enough to be at home with my three girlies... Those years were some of the most challenging of my life, as you may well remember.)
However, with my new teaching and tutoring schedule keeping me hopping all day and well into the evenings from Monday to Saturday, our "family day" has turned into a well-timed regimen out of sheer necessity.
As my middle child says gloomily:
"Sunday means CLEAN-UP day..."
And she's right, boy-oh-boy, because what with the four busy girls in this household, we sure don't have much time to keep up with clean-up during the week.
Today, we all pitched in with cooking, cleaning, laundry and ironing, in between bursts of homework and music practice. Late in the afternoon, I excused the gloomy middle child to go off with a friend to watch a hockey game, and dragged Wee Three along with me on my struggle round the grocery store, so that my eldest child could study in peace.
Wee Three is a great kid to shop with, actually. She's full of "can-do" attitude, and has a great willingness to help... although admittedly, she DOES prove my downfall in the cookies-and-candy aisle (which is commonly known to us as "The Aisle of Tears": To the kids, because they know that I'll say "NO". And, to me, because I know what my backside will eventually look like if I dare give in to my children.)
We made it through with only one moment of weakness, when I bought my smallest daughter a package of her favourite Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum-- albeit with firm warnings about her tendency to park her gum in inappropriate places around the house (presumably to "save it for later").
We dragged our cart out into the slushy parking lot, heaved the lot into the trunk of the loser cruiser, and slogged home.
Once back in my own driveway, I emerged from the nice, warm car and pulled up the hood of my parka against the snow and wind. I must confess, as I began to unload the contents of my trunk... it was hard to resist the great temptation to wish for a nice, strong Prince Charming-type to come bounding up and relieve me of my burden.
Stephen Sondheim once wrote, "Everybody ought to have a maid..." But, I say, to hell with that lot. The fact is, everybody ought to have a SHERPA. Especially mothers, at times times such as these.
It was at this precise moment that my littlest girl bounded out of the back seat, and skidded up beside me. She took one look at my face, grinned hugely, and made me the proudest mother in the world, when she said:
"Don't worry! WE can do it, Mum!!
GIRLS CAN DO ANYTHING!!"