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, most likely 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?!? Anyone, anyone with answers?
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 classes or during extra tutorials or activities. He believes that a child should show some interest in a particular subject before extra help, or additional classes are provided.
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 fundamental values can break that relationship. Even once you’re married, you still believe that the other person will change or see through your eyes. But unfortunately, it does matter more than everyone wants to, or cares to admit.
Another “frustration he constantly experiences with me” – these are his words, not mine, is the fact that I bring zero money in. He quickly forgot 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. Yeah, that was a huge mistake, to put it mildly… Somehow he had forgotten that I was the breadwinner before we had kids. I used to support his crazy business ideas and always believed and knew that one would have worked out someday.
I still don’t understand how insane I must have been to think it was a good idea to give up my life and my career in my prime to become… a perfect nobody. Unfortunately, after having two kids, I’m not considered a valuable asset to most companies. They look at me and think that I’m 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 still growing.
Every single year during the first week of school Jim and I argue a ton. The tension between us doesn’t help with my exhaustion leaving me to drain and wishing I could dissolve into nothingness every evening. He always knows how to make me feel small, which buttons to push and words to use. The sad thing is that I have only realised this recently, but he has been working on lowering my self-esteem for years. Yes, most of the days I feel small and insignificant. Long-time relationships usually take the heavy toll on people but there is a sacrifice you are willing to make, and there is a complete loss of your own self just to please someone who doesn’t even sees you as a person any longer.
The positive thing about the first week back to school is that the girls seemed to be happy and to see all their friends. I’m glad they are so merry. It is always nice to see other mums and get back to our coffee mornings. We usually don’t see each other over the summer. The community takes a break from being a community; maybe it is for the best as we don’t get at each other nerves. Both of my girls go to an independent school, which for now I believe is the perfect fit for their needs. It does cost shit lots of money, but in the case of education, money is irrelevant to me. The girls like the school, love their teachers and friends and each morning are happy to put their shoes on, take their lunches and go off.
I love the freedom the summer holidays offer and 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 tell you that I do nothing. 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. Words don’t come to me as quickly 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.
But I’m back to writing, or at least I’m trying to write again and in the process try to 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 is writing, and I’m kind of starting from scratch. With creativity and creative life, you can’t plan that much ahead.
At the moment it feels that I’m starting a new life in the middle of my old life.
My Knee Is In Pain Again
September 25, 2018
After weeks of resting and a half a dozen physiotherapy sessions, my knee, in theory at least, should be as good as new. I didn’t exercise or go to the gym over the summer as much as I would like to. I wanted my knee to be ready for all the physical activities a new school year always throws at me or any other parent in that matter.
However, the moment I started driving a little bit more than I did during the summer my knee gave in. I honestly don’t know if this was the driving, the colder weather, or more physical activity, but my knee was screaming for attention. As soon as I could, I made yet another appointment with Jim’s friend, a physiotherapist whom I went to see over the summer. I had no particular problems with him before that last session, or maybe I simply was unaware what kind of fucking moron he was.
His asshole-like attitude was visible from the moment I arrived. I was two minutes late; It happens, it’s London. Sometimes you can’t get on time to places regardless of how early you leave. Besides, the moment school is back in session, driving across the capital becomes pretty challenging.
Of course, I was apologetic and explained that I got stuck in traffic. I do not know what he was trying to say or what he meant, but he just said that I got stuck in the pipe (Anyone knows what that means in the assholes’ lingo?). It could have been a joke that I didn’t understand. His odd behaviour didn’t end there, it continued, and he started bombarding me with pretty personal questions, which made me feel incredibly uncomfortable. After that, the rest of the visit was just the ride downhill.
The previous time I came for a session with him, he gave me a strengthening exercise, which I did on a daily basis for few weeks but it turned out that I was doing the whole exercise wrong. Even though it was precisely the way, he showed me to do.
After pointing out that I just wasted my time doing the exercise, he proceeded with more criticism, but this time he decided to insult my diet. Believe me; he knows very little about food. After he was done with pointing out how my vegan diet was unhealthy, he couldn’t stop himself from suggesting that going to the gym is stupid and pointless really. According to him, I should be interacting with my environment, and the gym doesn’t offer that. I live in London, and the pollution is so fucking high at times that I have hard times breathing while I’m in the car, not even mentioning running alongside South Circular. But the most out of place and in some respect humiliating was when he announced that I was getting old and I could be going through early menopause because I had a heat stroke over the summer. Since he is an expert and knows all about heat strokes and menopause, he couldn’t spare me his opinion. He just blurted it out with no consideration of how it could make me feel, his paying client. I don’t give a fuck that he is Jim’s mate. The chauvinistic pig will see none of my money ever again.
I should have left right then and there, but I didn’t. I guess being a “nice girl” sticks to grown women, as much as it does to the young girls. This is undoubtedly not the way I’m going to bring up my daughters. If someone or something makes them uncomfortable, they will need to speak up or leave. Life is too short for accepting and putting up with other’s bullshit. Since I don’t like leaving things on a negative note with people. At the end of the session, I asked him about specific exercise I could do as a part of my training. He quickly scanned the front page of my training program and looked at his wall clock. He didn’t even know how to answer my question and was in such a rush to get me out that it made me feel like I didn’t matter the moment the hour was over. What kind of customer service is that? How dare he or anyone else judge me by my age, pains or family history. Who does that?
After my session with the asshole, I headed off to pick up the girls. I was trying to calm myself down; I didn’t cry, no asshole of such a small proportion can make me cry, but I was unkind to my girls and didn’t allow them to play in the park with their friends. I was so pre-occupied with my inner anger that I didn’t even listen to their stories on our way back.
Women put up with a lot of that kind passive-aggressive bullshit behaviour from blokes who feel entitled to give us their opinions about ourselves, and our life choices. That one was just one of many. However, I have to say that on that very day, something has changed in me. I can’t even put my finger on what that was, but I’m more than sure that I will never again allow any man make me feel uncomfortable, walk all over me, or make me feel like I don’t matter. I didn’t say anything to Jim. I doubt he would have understood. Most likely he would laugh it off and put it down to my vivid imagination and me seeing problems where they do not exist. Besides, I haven’t spoken to him for at least a week. I know he is around, but he gets in when I’m already asleep. And in the morning he is the first one to leave. He must be working on something big, I guess.
Until next week.
So The Drama Begins
October, 4th, 2018
It just occurred to me that I’ve been pretty unhappy recently. Might be that my dissatisfaction with life has always been there, I just never saw it up close like that. The constant anger I carry around is consuming every muscle of my body and every cell of my brain.
I’ve been trying to find the reason for my unhappiness for weeks, and the only thing I can come up with is the fact that the girls are growing up fast and fairly soon they won’t need me as much as they used to. I guess that, subconsciously, I have started wondering what I shall do now with my life and how I can accommodate the fact that both of my girls are at school. I need to decide fairly soon how I want my life to look like.
Jim has been working so late in the past week; the wine keeps me company when the house is all quiet. On the one hand, it is nice to have evenings to myself but on the other, the pickups from the afternoon activities, homework, play dates and bedtime fall all on me, which at times is overwhelming, especially when the girls had a bad day at school and are unsettled.
Luckily, tomorrow I’m seeing my girlfriends. Would you believe if I told you that I hadn’t had a chance to have a morning coffee with them since we started school and already a month has gone by? The four of us have known each other since our kids were in the playgroup together. We like to call ourselves The Kids and the City gang, you know like the Sex and the City but with much less sex and nearly non-existing social life, which has been taken over by the kid’s activities and their birthday parties.
I love my friends; I love spending time with them. It always fills me with positive and refreshing energy that allows me to carry on with whatever shit I have going on in my life.
October, 5th, 2018
My little monsters decided that having a tantrum over who is wearing what to school is the best way to start the day. I wonder if they do it just to see how much they can piss me off.
Jim left when I was in the shower before the tantrum took over our morning. I’ve always found it hard to handle the screaming kids. Jim is so much better at calming them down. But the positive outcome of the morning drama was that neither of them spoke in the car, which gave me a bit of a breather to collect my thoughts.
In comparison to the morning drama, the drop off felt unusually uneventful. For a change, even the gate was opened on time. I didn’t see Christina, which is always nice. She is the leader of the “mean girls club”. School parental politics are very much like the high school political landscape. You must belong to a group and immune yourself to the waterfall of gossips, talking behind people’s back and countless passive-aggressive behaviour parental communities engage in.
Since I didn’t feel like waiting by the gate for everyone to arrive, I made my way to the cafe. Over the summer the cafe had a makeover. There is a new owner and a new menu. I like the newly updated cafe as much as I loved the old one (The only local cafe I don’t like is the one that served me a latte with a hair in it. When I asked for a new one, it wasn’t well received, oh hell no…).
I was so ready to talk, gossip, drink coffee and eat brownies.
The moment I sat down, I started thinking about our life stories and how our current lives seem to be alike. Before we had kids, we all had careers and highly paid jobs. But after kids and maternity leaves, it has been hard for most of us to get back to work and keep our pre-kids high paid jobs.
Currently, most of us either have part times jobs, freelance or started our businesses in hope to turn a profit at some time in the future, hopefully, sooner rather than later.
The whole experience of shunting mothers aside is humiliating and painful. We are all resourceful, creative problem solvers, who can multitask but most of us can’t seem to be able to find well-paid full-time employment because apparently being a mother makes you for some reason unemployable, especially in the higher positions.
I do try to stay positive and not get influenced by the negativity of our situation, but pretty often I feel uneasy, sick, and resentful. My girlfriends and I are real-life examples of inequality.
I was halfway through my brownie when my girls arrived. The moment I saw them, I knew something was seriously off; all three of them were… distressed, the way I haven’t seen them in a long time.
I didn’t even manage to ask what happened when Jenny blurred out “We were late… because… we… love you… and… you need to know…that…that…that…”
“That what Jenny? Spill it out!!!” I hurried her up; I was getting this sick feeling in my stomach. It happens every time I feel something terrible is about to happen.
She took a deep breath and finally said: “Jim… Jim… has been seen a couple of times cosying up to Christina in the city in the past week”.
At first, I had no idea what Jenny was all about, and I just looked at her for a few seconds, trying to figure out how could Jim see Christina if he was working late. But soon enough I understood.
October 9th, 2018
I still don’t know if I feel sad, perhaps shocked, or merely disappointed that Jim has been seeing someone behind my back. I know I should be outraged but it’s not in me, I can’t find it. I knew I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t realise that we, as a couple, weren’t happy either. In reality, I don’t think we have spoken in… I can’t even remember when was the last time we did talk about something else than the school runs, children, and the school community.
I guess the romance dies down at some point but dating Christina was a humiliating slap to me and our life together. He knew how much I hated that woman. He knew all about her petty conflicts, unkindness, and general bitchiness. She is everything I wasn’t. She is focused on her own career and social progress, something Jim repetitively said he didn’t like women focusing on once they become mothers. In Jim’s book on motherhood, there was never anything in the middle; everything was either black or white.
He always kept bragging to anyone who would listen that he worked hard so I could be home with the children. Of course, that was only for the appearances because at home the increased pressure from me having to bring in the income was growing steadily. He wasn’t always money and status driven. He used to be supportive, especially when he was starting out and we had to live off my single salary. However, over the past two years, he has changed; he became easily irritated, demanding and unforgiving when it came to making mistakes. I put this outrageous behaviour on pressure and work-related stress, but maybe there was something much more to it than that.
I don’t think I can point out to one moment when we drifted apart. I guess there have been many small moments that added up. But seeing other people isn’t something I had in mind for the spectacular end to our relationship.
I cannot understand why, from all the people, all the women on planet Earth, he decided to go out with her. She is fucking the worst, patronising and superior to the rest of us. I HATE HER; I HATE HER, I HATE HER!!!
I’ve always tried to be nice, accommodating and kind when it came to our school community. Of course, it wasn’t always possible, and at times I was a cow, but I was never mean for my personal amusement. Katy suggested that I should spy on Jim. According to her, I should investigate (believe me she has heaps of experience investigating her partners) what that thing between the two of them is. Is it a beginning of romance or a full blown up affair? And what that means for us: a divorce, a separation?
As for me, I don’t know what I should do. On the one hand, I surely should and must confront him. On the other hand, I’m scared to hear the truth, and I’m scared that I don’t have a job and won’t be able to provide for the girls. I’m entirely and fully dependent on him financially. How did I get myself into that I still don’t know? I was always so independent, pioneering women in every place I worked and now… my best guess is that I’ll have to start all over again.
How does one start all over again after turning 40 and being out of the workforce for years?
October 10th, 2018
Since Jim was “working late” yet again last night, I’ve decided to take Katy’s advice and investigate how far that “thing” with Christina has gone. How long the two of them have been making a fool of me and how long I have been a laughing stock of the whole school. This is so humiliating on every possible level.
When I don’t analyse “the situation” for too long, I feel pretty good, but the moment I start thinking about the humiliation, I can feel my anger growing. When the anger subsides, it makes room for the agonising pain that follows right after. I don’t know if the pain is caused by the realisation that our relationship may be over or by the fact that my pride has taken a serious hit.
Every time I go through emotional upheaval, I stop eating, but I guess losing a bit of weight will do me good. Maybe I’ll be able to fit into some of my fancy pre-pregnancy clothes and skinny jeans. Skinny jeans and heels would be nice for starting all over again.
Jim didn’t know that I was still awake when he got back last night. I could hear his every move. It’s sickening to know that your partner is lying to you every morning when he leaves the house and every night when he gets back. It is not even the fear that our lives together are coming to an end; it is the blatant lying, the fact that after all those years together he has no respect for me and chooses to be with someone who is opposite to who I am and to what I represent.
I know myself well enough to know that the odds of me being able to carry on our relationship the way it was before I found out are non-existing, despite all the fear and anxiety I experience regarding the financial aspect of my new life. Throughout my whole childhood, I had to witness my mother’s desperate attempts to please my father who cheated on her all the time. He had no respect for her, and she had no respect for herself. Ever since I could understand what was going on between the two of them, I knew I wasn’t going to follow in her footsteps.
However, before I make any long-term, life revolting decisions, I just need to know for sure what he has been doing, how far the thing has gone, and why he is doing it with her!!! Christina and I never got on, and this surely won’t improve our relationship, and he can certainly forget about seeing his kids if she is around.
I also won’t allow her to make me feel like a victim. I’m not a victim; I’m choosing… I’m choosing me. She wants him, she can have him, but not before I’m done taking every single bit of what is mine.
But I do need to investigate to stop the anxiety from spreading and taking over my body and mind.
My girlfriends have always been supportive. This morning I told them that I was ready to investigate Jim and Christina and whatever is going on between them. But we didn’t get a chance to continue because at that very moment my mortal enemy came in. Christina and the rest of her mean girls’ gang strode in. She took enough of what’s mine already, and she is surely not going to take my cafe. The fight is on.
The Brief History
30. October 2018
It’s a day before yet another Halloween, which usually marks the end of the warm weather and the start of the frantic Christmas preparation. Jim is “working late” again tonight. I still haven’t found enough courage to confront him. I’m just scared, and the longer I think about having to talk to him, the bigger my anxiety becomes. What if he is in a relationship with her and has been sleeping with her behind my back for months? What then, what do I do after `I know the truth?
I wasn’t always scared; there were times when I was brave, willing to talk, ask and experiment but it all seems like another lifetime, or rather like a life that belonged to someone else, of which I was just a passive observer. Before I became a mum, and I love being a mum, I had a successful career in the corporate world. I started as a journalist, but within a few years, I moved onto writing for corporations and working with PR teams. The job wasn’t as fulfilling as being a journalist, but the money was much better, and since we only had one income, Jim was still building his company, it was a logical step for me to take to make our future together better.
The moment Jim’s company started making a profit, and he was able to pay himself, we decided it was time for us to have children. We already had a lovely house in a good neighbourhood with good private and governmental schools around. Besides, I knew that my company was planning to ship my job over to India. So now I just needed to get pregnant. The plan for me was to work for as long as I could and then have freelance jobs once on maternity leave. Well, the plan was perfect on paper and what possibly could go wrong with a perfect plan, right?
While pregnant, I was sick all the time. There were days I couldn’t even go outside because all the smells were making me throw up and I needed to stop working earlier than I planned. I did try to be upbeat, regardless of pregnancy sickness, but some days it was hard to even get out of bed. Not to lose my mind completely, I was reading a lot of books, staying in bed late, and trying to move as little as I possibly could.
As soon as my daughter was out, I wanted to go back to work and decided that by the time she is three months old, I will be working again. True to myself, within three months after giving birth, I was already going back at work. My new, exciting job wasn’t as well paid as the one that shipped to India, but I had an income coming in, and the company seemed much less rigorous than the previous one. However, soon I found out that I was pregnant again. It was a mixture of happiness and fear. I wanted to have another child but not so soon.
I stayed with this company for as long as I could before having to go on maternity leave again. After I had my second daughter, I decided that I was going to stay home for at least a year before going back to work.
I loved every moment and every minute of being home with the girls. Jim loved it too; we used to have long breakfasts or go for a long lunch or coffee in the middle of the day. It was so much fun. But I guess something, somehow went wrong for us.
Passive Aggressive Parents
07th November 2018
Since I’m really tired of feeling sorry for myself and obsessing about what to do about Jim, let me tell you a little bit more about the parents that go to our school, the passive aggressive type that Christina is the Queen Bee of.
We chose this independent school for our girls because we liked the school’s approach to a child’s development. I particularly liked that there were no exams and no grades. Back then we both thought that this kind of environment was going to be perfect for our girls to become independent thinkers.
We started school when our oldest turned four. From the first moment we entered the school community, the caring for the school and wellbeing of the teachers and the children became my new calling in life. I sacrificed a lot to be there for my girls and the school, not something the school ever appreciated. But that is a different story. As long as the girls were happy, I didn’t care that much about my professional life and commitment to my career, neither the only commodity I cannot buy, my precious time.
With time I learnt that parents’ judgment, gossips, and recurring passive aggressive behaviour is more than acceptable and more than common, even amongst the most enlightened school community in London. Ok. that is a big fat lie; they are not that enlightened, even though they strongly desire to be. Over the first weeks and months at school, I discovered that not all parents were nice and even wanted to be nice. Some were plain straight horrible bullies, with some sick “political” agendas attached to their names. And to progress their agenda, those parents used passive aggressive behaviour as part of their game.
I knew that kind of behaviour very well from my time at the corporation, but I didn’t realise that it was also popular amongst the parents at the school, which motto was to care for child’s wellbeing most of all. Those freaking bullies were trying to take control, regardless of the implications and costs to the school. I still have a tough time understanding why such a blunt aggressiveness to play those games to become trustees, to take over the managing positions, or in some cases just to take a plain pleasure in making other parents as uncomfortable as possible.
Christina has always been one of those passive-aggressive parents who tormented others just for pure pleasure. At times, she would pretend to be overly friendly and attentive, then the next morning she would cross the road to avoid saying good morning to me. It has become a pattern with her.
I still don’t know the root of her meanness towards me, but I guess she has always had her eyes on Jim and simply treated me as her competition, even though I was married to Jim, and still am, regardless of what they are doing together.
With each passing year, she was becoming more unpleasant and rude. For instance, she saw no problems in interrupting me and hijacking the conversation, while I was talking to someone. If we were in the same group of people, she would talk to anyone and greet everyone but me. The only time she acknowledged me was when I was with Jim, and she was talking to him. At first, I tried not to pay attention to her behaviour, but the longer we were at school, the more unbearable it became to me. I’m not going to lie to you; she got to me more often than I would like to admit.
Of course, she wasn’t the only one playing this game. Especially when you disagreed with one of the parents; disagreeing was not an option. If you did on any social, emotional, or even cooking issues, that person would and was going to shunt you away for good, making sure that others also knew you were merely a savage and knew nothing or very little, even if you were an expert at that subject.
However, in my eyes, Christina has always been the Queen Bee of meanness, and she has exercised her passive-aggressive technics over me and other mums (she was always annoyingly sweet to the dads) as much and as often as she could.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m also mad and furious at Jim beyond furious. He always knew how I felt about Christina. She always tried her hardest to make my school runs and school community outings and gatherings as hard as possible, and somehow she was always at the top of her game. Ready to attack when I didn’t expect her to. Now, it turns out that she is also good at sleeping with other people’s husbands.
PS. I need to get my shit together. I cannot keep on being so miserable and indecisive for so long.
PS2. I looked at my pre-pregnancy clothes today and decided to fit in them once again.
PS3. I signed up to my local gym. That will show him… or maybe help me find someone for revenge sex. Either way, I’ll be happy.
November 14th, 2018
I’ve been really good this week and went to the gym every morning after the drop-off. Jim doesn’t know I’m exercising and juicing. I have done juicing before. It is really hard, but the cleansing is always a good start in my case before I start eating less crap and carbs, and more veggies and fruits.
I also think my latte needs to go. The milk is killing our planet, plus it makes me feel bloated (I know, not a very politically correct thing to say for a woman but guess what; we are far from perfect).
I know it may look like I’m doing all this for Jim, but I’m doing it for me and the skinny jeans and for getting my shattered confidence back. My looks have always influenced my confidence. Ever since I was a teenager and started understanding that supermodels were something else altogether (in my teenage eyes they were immortal goddesses), I became ashamed of how I looked and hated every bit of food I put in my mouth.
After having my second child, my body became so hideous that I started hiding in buggy, sexless clothes. In time I even stopped feeling like having sex and some time ago we stopped even trying to pretend that we want to do it. I don’t think our marriage is savable. But whatever he is doing is beyond disrespectful to our past together and to our kids.
The school runs are becoming more challenging with each day, and Christina is making sure I despise the place more and more. She is becoming more cocky and unpleasant towards me with each day. She has always been a bully, but now she took her bullying tactics to an entirely new level.
A lot of my energy is going towards not fucking kicking her stupid skinny ass. The rest is going towards pretending that I still have some dignity left, which I’m not too sure I do.
However, not everything seems to be going down the hill for me. I started saying ‘no’ more often to parents, who asked me if I could have their kids over after the school for a playdate. I used to oblige to every single request and often the girls, and I, wouldn’t have a free afternoon together for weeks. But I can’t any more. I can’t pretend that I enjoy that. Looking after my own kids is exhausting enough. Besides I’m more than certain the whole school knows about my beloved and his new found love. It makes me even more angry that in a school that praises the community spirit so much, no one said anything to me.
Playdates have always been encouraged by the teachers at our school, and most parents have always gone along with that, giving a lot, and expecting very little in return. At first, I didn’t mind having kids I wanted my girls to be friends and connect with, especially outside the school setting. But with time I noticed that some parents simply took advantage of the whole concept and never had my girls over in return.
Since I wanted to be considered as a nice parent, I went along agreeing to every single playdate, even though I was getting angrier and angrier with myself for not being able to say “no”. However, since the start of the new school year, I have tried my hardest not to go out of my way to accommodate everyone’s requests. Besides, the girls have a solid small group of friends and those people are important. I must teach them that doing stuff for others just to be liked is wrong on so many levels.
Small steps usually lead to a big change, so, hopefully, the change will happen in my case soon.
November 16th, 2018
Today, right after the pick-up, the girls and I decided to go out for tea. The daily routine of school runs, shopping, cleaning, writing just for a bit, and cooking is driving me crazy. There is only so much of that boring daily reality that one person can take.
I know that I have only been exercising for a week, but that has given me a strength to want to do more outside of the house. Breaking with the routine is my new motto. Both of my girls are big pizza fans, so we ended up going for pizza just off Covent Garden.
We took our time eating; as a family, we usually rush with everything, but there was no time pressure. Jim kept calling me, but I didn’t care. I didn’t pick up the phone, neither texted him to let him know where I was with the girls. He always tells lies anyway.
Halfway mid through our ice cream, Emily, our younger daughter, who is turning nine next year asked: “Are you going to divorce daddy?”
I was caught off guard, and since I didn’t know what to say, I just dismissed her concerns with a stupid: “Don’t be silly, dear”.
I wonder what she knows. Does it show that we are together but not really together, or maybe Christina’s monster child has been saying some kind of shitty stupid bullshit around the school?
I’ll need to talk to both of them at some point and see what they know but definitely not tonight.
Once a month “we”, by that I mean I, organise a networking event in our house. Jim came up with this neat idea years ago when his business was just a startup. The idea was to have a monthly networking event in our house, instead of going out weekly or even at times daily (BC – before children).
I thought it was a splendid idea and as a supportive wife, I was all for it until the networking events became my thing. According to Jim, he couldn’t do anything more than he was already doing and couldn’t also be in charge of organising the party, having too much on his plate as it was.
So, willing or not, I became the sole organiser of the networking events that my “beloved husband” is a sole beneficiary of.
It takes me about a month to get the party ready. First of all, I need to track all the guests we want to invite. I try to rotate the guest list, so it’s not the same people every time; I design or sometimes hand make the invitations myself, I set the menu and the drink list as well as come up with exciting ideas to keep the kids busy and occupied.
Oh, did I say that the budget for those get-togethers is tiny? To save money, I usually do all the cooking and baking myself in advance; it takes me days to have all the food ready. Looking after the kids, the house, the school community and be the head of the networking party for Jim has become my reality.
At first, I didn’t mind; I wanted to be involved in his business, and I have always been very proud of him and his achievements, but the circumstances have changed so dramatically that I’m finding it really hard to master the strength to get anything done for that bloody party.
You will never believe what happened!
Yesterday morning Jim refused to help me pick up the food for the party and with rearranging our living space for the guests to arrive. He announced that he was too tired and needed to relax a bit more before the evening event. He also promised the girls to take them out to the park and for cakes after the walk, but he made some lame excuse for not doing that too, which made me mad beyond mad and the girls very sad.
As an emergency, I had to arrange for a playmate at Kiara’s. However, even while talking to her, I could feel that under the surface I was fucking boiling.
I’ve been patient; I’ve waited for only God knows what to happen. But after not seeing the girls for a week, he couldn’t even find a couple of hours for them? That was unacceptable for me as a mother, or maybe that was merely my breaking point. I will never know.
I dropped the girls with Kiara, who as always was kind and understanding; then I went to pick up the party food. Two weeks ago I decided to indulge myself in overspending on food for a change, and I ordered every single thing in Waitrose. While putting the food in the car, somehow I swung one of the boxes, and my car keys flew few stores down landing somewhere in the bushes. Having no other choice, I unpacked all the food and went to look for the car keys. Of course, I couldn’t find them.
I called Jim. At first, he didn’t pick up the phone. Then I called again, and he turned my call off. While I was on my way up to the car, Jim butt called me. I picked up the phone, but all I could hear was her fucking high-pitched shroud voice, which I would be able to recognise even from Mars. That very moment something broke in me. He didn’t want to take his kids out to the park but had no problems spending the morning with her? What kind of person does that?
I called the mini-cab. The driver was kind enough to help me put all the food inside and helped me carry the food back to the house. I tipped him generously.
When I got home, I called Kiara and told her what happened. She suggested that the girls should stay with her for the sleepover. When I put the phone down, I felt sad thinking about the past fifteen years of our lives and how that meant very little to Jim. I left all the unpacked and unwrapped food on the kitchen table. The first guests were supposed to arrive in two hours. Jim still wasn’t home. I went to have a shower, and I got ready for a night out. He got back half an hour before the party was supposed to start.
When he came upstairs, I was writing. He looked at me and was about to say something, but I got in first.
– “I want separation, and I want you to move out tomorrow the latest.”
– “Why is the food not ready?” – he ignored me, completely ignored me. “You know I have been crazed all day for you and the girls.”
– “Oh, have you?” – I passed him the phone, showing him the time and the length of the call. “I guess Christina is one of your clients now, right?”
– “I…I…” he started, but I didn’t let him finish. I was done with being the “good wife”.
– “You have until tomorrow to get the fuck out from my house. Have an awesome party.” I said and banged the bedroom door behind him.
I went out to the city. I had a drink on my own, went to dinner on my own and I booked a hotel room. Kiara said the girls were doing fine and didn’t suspect anything. Christina attended the party and how I know this? She fucking posted the pictures all over her bloody FB. I will either have to burn down the house or redecorate.
He didn’t text or call me even once to find out if I was all right and where the three of us were. This is how a marriage ends with no champagne and picking China Patterns.
I made Jim tell the girls that he is moving out and why. He wanted to talk to me and explain, but I said ‘no’. Everything has happened so fast that I’m still digesting; the massive change and my bravery. In all honesty, I didn’t think I had it in me. Now I need to focus on my girls and finding a job that could support the three of us.
The Different Groups of Parents
30 Nov. 2018
When you are a parent, dutifully fulfilling your daily school runs and obligations over the years, you will inevitably encounter various groups of parents. In my school runs career I’ve managed to identify the following groups:
• Mean parents (Christina being the queen bee of that group) – they take enormous pleasure at making other parents feel uncomfortable. They usually try to be the best at everything a parent can compete at, such as cooking, arts and crafts, organising the best playdates and B-day parties, the best friend, and the most devoted parent in the school community, etc., etc. While doing all these important jobs, the mean parents are fucking bloody judgmental towards others, and unless you do everything they want you to do, they won’t even give you a second look. Sometimes, even when you do your best, it is not good enough for them. They will judge you and then talk about you behind your back.
• Passive-aggressive parents (I already covered that extensively) – a lot of them are proud members of the mean parents’ group. It’s easy to recognise a passive-aggressive parent; they can often be seen in the mornings not replying to the morning greetings. So, I say “Good morning”, but nothing comes back. However, at times, as if by the touch of a magic wand, they reply as nothing has ever happened. It’s always hard to say when that will happen and what triggers it.
• ‘Poor me’ parents – those parents are fucking draining. Life is always just one big drama for them. Whatever happens, they take it all out of proportion, often turning all their daily events and encounters into a big monstrous catastrophe. Some of them stay ‘friends’ with you for as long as you are giving; when you stop giving, they move on to another victim.
• Wealthy parents with shit lots of money that everyone wants to be friends with. Of course, there are many mystical gossips about them circling around the school. The school management usually tries to “encourage” them to help out the school financially as much as possible. At times it works, and at times it doesn’t.
• Parents who like to mix it up and are pretty dishonest towards other parents, often using them for their sick petty political games. They usually want to become more “influential”; yes, you read that right, influential in the school community. You would be surprised how many parents practice politics at the drop-offs and pick-ups. You cannot trust those people, because they are internally dishonest and unethical, and represent only their own interest, whatever that interest may be. However, they are not as mean as the mean parents, because they have to keep up appearances. They try to be helpful and nice, but it is all interest led not compassion led.
• ‘The school and the community comes first’ parents, who are ready and willing to do a lot for the school community. I think I tried to be a part of this group. Let me tell you; this is a fucking time-consuming job that is very undervalued and underappreciated. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to try to aspire to be part of this group. Not worth it. Your life, aspirations and ambitions are put aside because you are so consumed with everything that goes on in the school that very little energy is left to devote to your career or life outside of the school.
• The parents who don’t give a shit – usually the parents with high-flying careers, who just come and go, and don’t really talk to anyone ‘cos they don’t give a shit or simply feel too important to talk to the little folks.
• The selfish parents – talk only about themselves and pay attention to their own needs only, disregarding everyone else; at times even put their own needs ahead of their children’s’. You would be surprised to see how many of those people exist within the school community. I am.
• Attention seekers – those parents behave erratically and try to be as controversial as possible, often getting involved in other people’s business, sometimes even breaking relationships. They are willing to do anything for the sake of getting a bit of attention.
• The helpful parents – usually try to help as much as possible, often attracting the “poor me parents” who feed of their good, upbeat, positive attitude and energy. Those poor souls are simply givers, asking very little if anything in return.
I bet that there are more groups of parents and these groups mentioned above are divided into smaller sub-groups. All of them mix together, trying to “peacefully” co-exist in the school community, while at the same time trying to gain in importance and prominence (I’m telling you that the high school is back in session the moment you enter the school runs game).
I must say that, at various times in my life, I have been “friends” with parents from different groups. It took me a long time to settle at mine ‘The school and the community come first’ parents group, which I decided to leave anyway.
Since Jim moved out and officially started dating my mortal enemy, I lost heart for the school and the school community. The fact that my life, as I knew it, is over and not even one of the so-called community members asked me if I was ok. Or perhaps if I needed some help. It all makes me realise that most of those people are fucking full of shit.
Luckily, I still have my girls, and we are a very exclusive club that no one else is allowed in.
The Christmas Preparation
The girls somehow found out that their dad has already moved on and is seeing another mum from our school community. I surely didn’t say anything to them. However, they are both intelligent beasts and can add two and two. I’m a bit worried that they haven’t asked me any questions so far; I know I need to talk to them but don’t know how to begin, where to start, or what to say.
How do I go about explaining the end of our marriage to the people that are going to be affected by that the most? I have been trying to write a perfect script for that, but no such thing exists. Andrea, one of my girlfriends, has been helping me enormously by having the girls over for the sleepovers at least once a week.
I was supposed to be using this time to think constructively and creatively about what I want and what steps I need to take to get that. However, the chaos and confusion in my head are not making me productive even one bit. Instead, I decided to clean the house from top to bottom. And, to my greatest surprise, while I was cleaning the office, I discovered that my successful husband’s company was going down (welcome to the Brexit UK).
To my most profound horror, I found piles of unpaid bills and invoices. I think I know what all that means, but I don’t really know what to do with it. I surely will have to confront him about whatever that mess means to our girls. I haven’t said anything to any of my girlfriends, neither to my brother; I can’t deal with this now.
I do have some savings and a couple of small investments I made before we were married. I’m not as helpless as Jim thought I was, but I’m scared of what will happen next. All this chaos is surely not helping with my Christmas shopping. I haven’t done any so far and I have no idea what I should get for the girls. I have also been considering not cooking at all. We will have to wait and see how that pans out.
In the past few weeks, I have become disillusioned by the school community. As a protest against their selfishness, I didn’t get involved in helping out during the Christmas Fair, neither even went to the fair with my girls. Seeing Jim with her all over him would be just too much for me now.
I’m trying to keep the girls as busy as I possibly can. We go for walks; nature does have soothing effects on broken souls, and we watch a lot of old, new, scary and funny movies. Stories seem to have bonding effects on us in some mystical way.
Since Jim and I still haven’t even started talking about co-parenting, or rather my parenting, as I do not agree to any bloody kind of parenting by her. I’m fake in trying to be accommodating towards him. One never knows what one may need for her divorce proceedings. Secretly, in the darkest parts of my soul, I want him to keep away from us. Currently, lots of my life energy and life force goes towards playing cool and being cool, so I’m not seen as “this angry woman”, who is seeking revenge. I’ll get my revenge on my terms, and in my own time. It will happen, I know it will.
For the Christmas period, I’m putting my revenge plans on hold and focusing on writing my 2019 wishlist, where I put my hopes, wishes and dreams on paper so the Goddess of 2019 can hear me.
New Year, new me and new life.
New Year New Me
10 Jan. 2019
I’m so glad that the Christmas break is over. I always find this time both: mentally and financially exhausting. Life seems to be getting more and more expensive every year and it always feels that Christmas time is an epicentre for consumerism and spending.
Looking at my current financial situation, I have started seriously wondering, if we should stay in this country. The UK doesn’t seem to be family friendly lately, and it surely isn’t friendly for mother’s wanting to go back to work. Childcare became unaffordable for the majority of the population, and it doesn’t even matter if you are a single parent or a couple.
Taking my own some of my girlfriends’ experience into consideration I know that becoming a single parent means daily financial insecurity and anxiety related to money. Unless you kept your high profile and high paying job after having kids, you would not have financial stability. But, as a mother, you wouldn’t spend much time with your child(ren) (not all companies in the UK heard about maternity leave). It’s a catch 22.
Unfortunately, many of us, women, don’t go back to our full-time jobs, wanting to be there for our kids. Sometimes we have one child after another in the hope that somehow that could help our careers in the long run, but it hardly ever works this way. I left my full-time job to care for my kids, and I shouldn’t be punished for that in the market place now.
As you can imagine, the last few months have been pretty intense on my end, which resulted in me getting sick over the Christmas break with the virus lasting well past the New Year’s. Girls and I decided to celebrate Christmas with pizza, sweets, and a lot of Netflix, while I was trying to fight off a headache, cough and the tiredness that overwhelmed my body like the monsoon rain overwhelms the lands and rivers when it finally arrives.
I celebrated the New Years with my girls. It was important to me for the three of us to be together, even though we had a lot of sleepover invitations. I wanted the start of the New Year to make the New Me.
My commitment to me in 2019 is to get as far away from perfect as I possibly can, regardless of how far that will be or will take me. I cannot waste my life’s precious energy any longer on pretending that I am something I am not.
The first step is always the finances; financially dependent women cannot make their own, fully independent decisions. My local library is running workshops for women, who want to and need to start all over again and who are in the process of rebuilding their own lives from the ashes up.
Since Jim’s financial troubles keep me awake in the middle of the night, I thought to myself that starting a year with a better understanding of finances would be a good start. Jim still hasn’t said anything to me about business going under, but at the same time, he also didn’t say that he was going to spend Christmas holidays with his “new lady love” in the Austrian Alps. He didn’t see the girls over the Christmas and New Year. I’m having a really hard time understanding why he stopped caring for his kids so quickly and gave up on them without a fight. I guess this is another question in my life that will go unanswered. Next week I have made appointments with my bank manager and my lawyer to find out what kind of financial mess Jim got me into. My only hope at this point is that he at least has been paying for the girls’ school.
PS. I have managed to lose some weight, both because I was sick and because I stopped eating crappy food and drinking tons of coffee with milk. Part of my 2019 reinvention plan is to fit in my pre-pregnancy skinny-jeans. Yes, I still keep those, just in case I need to rediscover the fun-loving me I once was.