When I popped in to see a friend this week for coffee while working in Glasgow, another of her pals was there.
She’d made the most delicious lemon drizzle cake and I had two giant slices – the first thing I’d eaten that day and it went downhill from there with a pork pie for lunch.
When I complimented her baking, she said she had plenty time to practice as she was a full time mum of three.
She used to feel guilty about not working (we all laughed and said you feel guilty as a parent too matter what – for working, not working. We agreed that it’s your choice and let’s face it, being a ‘stay at home’ mum is hardly plain sailing) but it’s what she had always wanted to do.
She applies herself to parenthood like a structured job and her home was run like a military operation with weekly changes of menus, star charts to reward good behaviour and clothes laid out on Sundays for the week ahead.
Suddenly I was the one feeling guilty – with a more, how shall we say, ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ approach to parenting that often involves chasing my tail and running late.
I asked a question I immediately regretted: “How many meals would you say you have in your repertoire?’ The answer: ‘Ooooh, about 37.”
Thirty seven? Different recipes? She said that included adult meals as well, eating more grown-up dishes with her husband after the kids had gone to bed – and fancier dishes for dinner parties. She felt that she needed a few more to add to her recipe book.
I scratched around my head for the meals I could make from scratch and I got to six – and one of them includes the kit with ready-made sauce for fajitas.
I left feeling lesser but also motivated to do better and the next morning made a smoothie and scrambled eggs for a family breakfast. My husband looked confused, like I may at any moment explode.
It’s a common scenario all over Dundee every weekday morning – a mad, blind panic to get everyone fed, dressed and out the door for 8am, but a corner had been turned. I exuded ‘wholesome mum’ with a touch of Nigella.
As I reached for the school uniform, I remembered. Chester’s had been covered in tomato ketchup from school lunch and I’d put all trousers and jumpers in the wash, vowing to remember to put them out to dry before bed.
You guessed it – I hadn’t – and the kids walked like John Wayne to the car in their wet clothes.
It seems fitting then, to end on a quote from the legendary Oscar-winner:
“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”
He probably had something more heroic than soggy school trousers in mind but still, we can all take comfort that…there’s always tomorrow.