Grandad Threw A Baked Bean At My Face

Sometimes my life feels like a bed of roses. Sometimes it feels like a Vice Clamp.

On Wednesday I awoke. The sun was shining. The sky was blue and the baby had slept through the night.

I lay for a moment, feeling light hearted and thinking about the day ahead. There was my meeting with my UnLtd Awards Manager who had travelled down from London to talk through elements of the Gorgeousness Programme. I’d arranged to see him at Olivios, a coffee house in Ryde, a town on the north side of the Island. Prior to that I had just two simple tasks for the morning; wash/ blow dry my hair and print an important two page document for the meeting.

Simples dot com.

A truly Rose Bedder sorta day.

However, in my naively relaxed state I must have moved my toe a little too vigorously, because the rustle woke the baby and the Life Vice Clamp cranked open an eyelid.

Then this beautiful array of gorgeousness unfolded:

1. I get out of bed and my extremely snotty, cold-full one year old (who will be pacified by little except a lactating breast and/or being held only by his mama) clamps himself to my leg so I can’t so much as shuffle across a bedroom to go and use the loo, let alone make a cup of tea.

2. I decide to save the wee, scoop up Baby, head downstairs to make tea one-handed. This is followed by toast one handed, followed by feeding baby toast, who then regurgitates it butter-side down onto the floor. This is a usual occurrence, but as I’m scooping up gummed toast, I am suddenly preoccupied with the deadlines I have for Friday mixed with guilt of having to work whilst the kids are off school. The Vice Clamp tightens a twist.

 I then make unforgivable mistake of putting Baby down for a moment so I can print off my document. The put-down triggers inconsolable howls and baby re-clamps my ankle so I cannot move. Thankfully printer is in reach. Ha.

3. I press PRINT.

Nothing happens.

4. I cancel print, then press PRINT again.

Communication Error.

5. Printer, that was £250 and THIRD replacement in one week, stubbornly refuses to print anything. Printer stress exacerbated by fact that smug, former printer (which works perfectly well but is out of ink and has been rejected due to diabolically expensive ink consumption) is sitting next to posh, new piece of poo printer.

6. I call Other Half.

7. Other Half shuffles downstairs with Zen “I’ve got a week off work and I’ve had an extra two minute doze” super-market style music humming in his aura. Overflowing with chilled vibe he pulls out a chair to methodically and painstakingly fix terminally wrong printer. He does this whilst sipping tea and oblivious to fractious baby who is still refusing to unwind himself from my leg.

8. Meanwhile Middle Child thunders downstairs, rips the stairgate and half the wallpaper off the wall. As Other Half talks me through printer fault, Middle Child is tells me about last night’s dream, Baby cries louder and pulls my pyjamas half down whilst trying to climb my leg and Vain Cat pirouettes onto everything vaguely head height, braying in my face for cat food.

9. I work out strategy to escape and sneak upstairs for shower. Artfully unwind myself from Baby and am slipping him a bottle of milk when Other Half reads emergency email about water leak in his restaurant and instead he runs past me to grab phone and make a call. Other half disappears upstairs, taking Baby with him, whilst I make more toast for Middle Child.

10. Eventually leak situ is sorted, I snatch shower and stupidly mention to Just-Awoken-Eldest that she might like to tidy her room. Her door gets closed in my face. Towel wrapped around middle, I go into my bedroom (once a place of Zen peace, light and reflection … now a laundry room, nursery, dumping ground for Middle Child’s half made Lego Starwars ships) and put my foot in something wet. I look down. Realise that Baby must have been sick on the floor during Other Half’s phone call re leak and he hadn’t noticed.

11. A hair – possibly a cat hair, possibly one of my rapidly-turning-grey ones – spirals down from heaven.

12. The camel’s backbone, looking pretty gnarly by now, shudders.

13. Then. Goes. KEEERRRR-ACK.

14. I send two mayday texts; one to my mother, one to my friend in London who cannot help but it is cathartic to send. (Sorry Kerry. I know you were at work.)

15. My mother arrives shortly afterwards having left my grandfather in the car, which is high-risk as he has dementia and is prone to escape. She smoothly relives me of the Baby and the Middle one, but I say she can’t take the Just-Awoken-Eldest as by some miracle she is tidying her room.

16. Twenty minutes later, Just-Awoken-Eldest realises she’s missed an escape route and says she wants to go to Nan’s too. Printer still not working and I realise that I can utilise my mother’s office equip and drop off Eldest en-route to meeting. Woo-hoo, Vice Clamp. Catch me if you can.

17. Jump into car with Eldest and head to Mum’s, feeling like I have a blood orange sized piece of acid indigestion wedged somewhere between my throat and my chest.

18. Arrive at Mother’s and shout “I’m here”. Sink down at desk and print two page document for meeting, whilst hearing Eldest shriek in kitchen (where Mum is making Middle One another breakfast). Eldest stomps through to me, bewildered and crying, “Mum, Grandad just threw a baked bean at my face!”

19. I shake my head speechlessly, then leave the house speechlessly, get into car speechlessly, drive to meeting and give waiter a serene smile.

20. Before. Ordering. An. Americano. And. Opening. My. Laptop. Case.

Driving to that meeting I had been seriously wondering whether this tree can honestly bare the branches it has grown.

Can a woman really have a business and a family and make both work out?

However,  as the meeting progressed, my shoulders stopped masquerading as earmuffs and the blood orange acid indigestion began to dissolve. A sense of peace began to pervade my being as the caffeine pervaded my blood stream and I found myself walking in my other world – that of being a creative, a builder and a life designer.

Nemo (my lovely Award Manager) and his enthusiasm for the Gorgeousness programme reminded me about what an amazing and worthwhile package it is. I reminded myself of how far it has come and how I’m now on the brink of manifestation my biggest dreams for it.  To tie up the session we talked about a mentoring scheme that they run and he suggested partnering with an UnLtd business mentor.

“What specialist help would you be looking for?” he asked.

I sipped my second Americano; waggled my pen. “Well, performance management would be handy. Maybe some of the financial elements would be good?” Then I paused and decided to put my cards on the table. “But the one thing that would make the biggest difference would be speaking to a woman … a business woman who has grown an enterprise from start-up whilst also having a family.”

There, it was said. It was admitted. The messy, organic, beautiful, flawed confession that real life can not be condensed into a spreadsheet, a forecast and there is no GPM in energy levels and production when your baby won’t let you move across the room, then yakked on your bedroom floor.

“That is something we can definitely look at,” said Nemo, scribbling down my number one requirement from a mentor. “In fact, I have an idea of exactly the person. Leave it with me.”

So that’s been left with Nemo.

And I’ve been left with something really nice …

The reassurance that I CAN do it and the tree might not have to break along with the camel’s back.

The key, it would seem, is recognising that we are human and that humans have armpit hair and babies that pull their mother’s pyjamas down and that there is some BLOODY GOOD SUPPORT out there.

Some of the support comes in the form of Other Halves, some in the form of funders, mentors and human beings that appear under the umbrella of Award Managers … There are the heart warming friends that receive your neurotic texts and FB inboxes, who then send your love from their corporate mad houses.

And there are the mums that will swoop in and swoop out just when you need it most – even if 90% of the time they are looking after other people who need their love and care.

But to make this support/key work, we’ve got to do something ourselves.

A three letter word that can sometimes seem sooooo hard.


Wishing You A Lovely Bed-A-Roses Sort Of Day

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