Wednesday, 14 March 2012


This week I am knackered. Red Bull doesn’t touch it. Touché Eclat doesn’t hide it. 

Everyone has started asking me whether I’m okay.

It seems my face is the main cause for concern. I look like a bloodhound on chemo. More specifically, I look like a bloodhound on chemo might look IF he were forced to shuffle around, say, Asda, for the rest of his life. My body, too, is exhibiting signs. I walk at a pace that would embarrass a sloth. I sigh and whimper and make grotesque mewling noises. In the evenings, when I haul my sorry ass upstairs, my posture is so spectacularly humped I cast a shadow that looks exactly like a FAT Nosferatu.

There are many reasons for my exhaustion:

1. My partner has taken up a job in London, leaving me to care for three small children, two incontinent cats, and a house, single-handedly. When I say single-handedly, I’m not being literal. (I don’t know how that woman off CBeebies does it, to be honest.) 

2. I need loads of sleep – but I don’t get it. Mutants like Mrs Thatcher and Martha Stewart might only need 4 hours sleep a night, probably less, the fucking freaks, but I need 10. I love sleeping.  I love sleeping so much I have dreams about sleeping. You could put a million billion genetically-modified peas THIS BIG under my mattress, and I wouldn’t give a shit.  

3. Finally, there is the accumulation of six school runs a day, overseeing school creative writing workshops, blogging, the demands of a start-up PR business, and just generally trying to get my shit together after being at home with the kids, all on ONE day’s childcare a week.

Of course, it doesn’t help that we live in a country that has opted out of the European Time Directive - a country that has the longest working hours in western Europe – a country that can’t be bothered to provide adequate childcare or paternity leave but still expects you to be working 24 hours a day. *wipes rabid drool from chin, burns bra.* These days, if I happen to answer the door in my pyjamas, I have to pretend I’m a new mother, or a nurse who works shifts, or that I’ve been up since 5am, baking bread, writing reports for the UN Security Council, and ironing my children's fucking homework, and that I haven’t had time to get changed. Actually, fuck that for an excuse … I am tempted to say that I’ve been SO ridiculously busy that I got changed to GO to bed about six hours ago, but got so distracted by my important schedule - by the trillion things that just couldn’t wait – that I didn’t have time to sleep at all!! Anything is better than someone thinking I might be mental, or idle, or on incapacity benefit, or, in other words, not earning money, not fuelling the retail economy, not buying shit I don’t need …

Meanwhile, I’m not sure whether there are any solutions for the outward signs of my exhaustion. I could try facial yoga, like Gwyneth Paltrow, but then I’d have to hire a contract killer to take myself out. A less extreme solution would be to inject 50g of pure caffeine straight into my face. Or move to Denmark. Where it’s civilised! 


  1. I think that I speak for us all when I beg you NOT to go down the Paltrow route (stringy piece of poultry that she is). Could I suggest instead either not answering the door (who are they and what do they want anyway?) or resigning yourself to your state of undress. Dare anyone to question you. I myself am fully surrendered to my pyjamas.

  2. Tell them you're 61 and they'll marvel at how young you look. I tried it at a hot dog kiosk. Haven't had my complexion so admired in years!

  3. I so know how you feel. Start up PR business? Really? I have had the mother of all colds and after three weeks i am still wiping green slime on my daughters sleeves. Sleep is quite frankly better than sex. I love the stuff. Has to be at least 8 hours a night for me. Although a night of unbroken sleep is rare these days thanks to my over worked OH coming to bed at the average time of 2.30 am.

  4. Older Mum - can you clarify whether you need 8 hours of sex or sleep a night? In a way it's a shame you can't combine both activities, although I suppose it might be considered a little rude.

  5. Sleep! ps I've tagged you in Firsts

  6. What gets me is that when my husband had to do my job (look after his OWN children) because I had a serious sick day. He went to bed exhausted at 7.30pm. And, this was just him playing with them for longer than 10 minute stretches. I, in my flu-like state still managed to cook, feed and wash them. I'm in a perminant state of pooped-ness. I feel your poop, as it were...

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  8. Fiona, so kind of you to feel my poop, albeit virtually. You are a true friend xx