Maddie spent the morning in huffs and sighs. She set about her tasks while listening to her kids rabbit on.
Glancing at the clock, her shoulders tight and ropy, she took a deep breath in through her nose, and whooshed it out through her mouth. Nup, she still felt tired and shitty. Maddie threw the last chip packets into the kids’ lunchboxes.
‘Lunches are ready. Come put them in your bag,’ she shouted from the kitchen sink.
A herd of horses bolted down the hallway. Odd how two small children, weighing less than 35kgs each can make such a sound.
‘Once they’re in your bag, brush your teeth, then it’s time for you to head to school.’ It was her favourite time of the day. Six hours to herself. Gratis. Well, not all those hours were free to while away.
The kids were fighting in the bathroom. Maddie looked at her emails; work from clients had come in overnight. A quick peek at each attachment; she surmised the work would take about two or three hours. Nothing much to bookkeeping. This motherhood business was much harder.
‘Stop fighting in there!’ she screeched. She stormed into the bathroom to find frothy toothpaste in splotches on the floor, mirror and on Petey’s shirt. ‘Oh, come ON!’ she yelled in despair. ‘Why can’t yo—’
‘It was Tilly, Mum, I swear. She grabbed my arm and the toothpaste went everywhere.’
‘Just finish up and get out of here. You’ll be late.’ Maddie said through gritted teeth, as Tilly spat into the sink. ‘I’m not driving you, so hurry up.’
Petey rinsed his mouth with the cup and started to clean up.
‘Just leave it. Go.’ Maddie rinsed a cloth and began to clean the mirror. Tilly and Petey grabbed their bags and were at the front door when mother guilt hit full force. She ran the length of the hallway and pulled them in for a hug.
‘Be safe and careful on the way. I love you both.’
Murmurs and mumbles of reciprocity. ‘Have a great day!’ Maddie called brightly as her two children left for the day. She sighed again, collapsed in tears after closing the door.