Parental regret might be taboo, but when it comes to the crunch we are only human after all
School started again last week, but I was so dazzled and desperate I got the day wrong. New uniform was laid out cat-like on the bed, work was stacked until evening in half-hour blocks, and then the cold light of Wednesday morning arrived shaking its head. An inset day. So once again the toddler was forced into an extended nap and the seven-year-old was handed the warm TV remote, and I sat on the stairs next to my headache for a minute to catch my breath.
There’s a video going round where a New Zealand politician is interrupted during a live TV interview by her son who is wielding a phallic carrot. I paused on her face – chuckling, exasperated – as she tries to bat him out of the room, then looked in the mirror to check my own expression. Blank. Muddied. Last year I wrote about the realities of work and childcare at the start of the pandemic, and while much of our practical life has changed, inside our bodies much is the same. The biggest difference is that now, nobody asks how we’re doing.