Friday, December 26, 2003

Hey, have you come across audio-blogs yet?! Click on the audio post below. I've posted a short Christmas message to say hello to all my friends. I'd love to be able to phone all the people with whom I correspond on a regular basis, but I don't think I'd be able to afford it!, let alone organise my time across Canadian, American, European, New Zealand and Australian time bands!

So, Pseudo Supermum has survived Christmas. This morning I woke up with pins and needles in both arms, aching and feeling as though I'd been run over by a tractor. Must just be in reaction to the past demented month!

Having woken up (for the fifth time) at 11 am this morning, I now feel quite awake - even though it's nearly midnight. I'd better be sensible (who, me?) and think about winding down for the night.

Everyone's well, healthy and happy - who could ask for more?
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Thursday, December 18, 2003

Pseudo-Supermum barely has time to write a haiku tonight, let alone a whole paragraph! Indeed, I don't know if I can still string a sentence together.

There's too much on! Too many events, concerts, parties, carol-services, rehearsals ... and definitely too many Christmas cards and gifts to deal with!

We got our cards written. Mine went off last week, His this week, and the boys wrote theirs on Tuesday evening. True to form, Mr Super-Efficient whizzed through a whole class-ful of cards in the time Mr Artistic lovingly crafted four beautifully hand-drawn cards, whilst Mr Instant Gratification sat and jiggled whilst Mum "made" cards (recycling last years' best, mounted on plain card) for him to sign. Of course, this means Mr Artistic still has quite a lot more to design, and Mr I.G. decided that "making" cards was so much fun that he needed to do some more. There just hasn't been time since Tuesday.

Last year I did my week-before-Christmas supermarket run at 2 am in Asda. I thought it would be quiet. The place was humming! Worse still, the shelves hadn't been filled because even at midnight, the queues were so long that the shelf-stackers couldn't get in to stack.

This Saturday, I shall go at 6 am. There won't be any kids, guaranteed. I already have the turkey in the freezer, so I won't be looking for anything that's likely to be in short supply!

No.1 son observed that I must be stressed out - my day-at-a-time calendar was nine days out of date! I'm comforted that my penfriends must all be in the same boat, as the number of my "welcome" emails has decreased significantly. I wish the spammers would take a Christmas break too!

Monday, December 15, 2003

In which Noble Spouse does battle with the breakdown insurance firm and wins...

Would you believe it? The breakdown company voided his insurance when he changed car last year. And then refused to admit any fault, and insisted it would take 48 hours to reinstate it. Oh no, said my hero. I'll stay on this phone until you get me someone with enough authority to put this mess right. No way am I waiting 48 hours before someone will take my car to the garage for me!

And it came to pass, that someone in authority did sort it out, gave him a year's free breakdown cover, and the car is now awaiting repair in the garage.

Noble Spouse won heaps of brownie points with mother-in-law, who thoroughly approved of his triumphant battle!

It hasn't been his day. Not only the car annoyances, but having to visit Auntie by bus(es) to find where she had mislaid her money and keys. And then back to collect the boys from the childminder.

We were all going to go to the panto tonight. Well, I and the big two went. Littl'un and Daddy stayed behind, grateful for a few hours' peace. We returned home very late, happy, and with the boys high as kites. Hard to tell where the caffeinated coca cola stopped and the panto excitement started!

And here endeth today, hoping tomorrow is a little easier. We have the Final Primary One nativity play to enjoy tomorrow afternoon. I hope we both manage to get there! And then Littl'un wants to go to wish his old nursery a happy Christmas. It has taken four and half months for him to want to go back there at all!

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Where has the time gone? Oh yes, it's December - that explains everything. December is the month when already busy mums try to squeeze two months' worth of activities into one action-packed month.

Yesterday (Saturday), Noble Spouse's clutch cable snapped. I became the family taxi for the weekend. I notched up FIVE return trips to Paisley and one to Glasgow city centre yesterday. Two trips to Bearsden and another trip to Paisley today. I've done all the mundane multiple laundry loads, baked the Christmas cake, "baked" bread (thanks to the bread-machine), made pies, puddings and gingerbread, written Christmas cards and practised the organ.

So here I am, at 11 pm, as hyper as a helium-filled balloon and just as likely to go fizzing up into the hemisphere! Quick, find me a glass of wine and some soothing music!

Things could have been worse. The clutch cable could have snapped next weekend, when we have a Sunday School party, bigger kids' Sunday school outing, two choir practices and two choir carol concerts to add to the usual recipe of commitments and obligations!

I'm off. I can't concentrate any longer, and the washing machine needs emptying yet again.

Fizz! Wheeee! She's finally lost the place!

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Computers! Noble Spouse has a friend upstairs trying to unravel what is wrong with his computer. I had a problem with my music-writing software last night, and my call to the help-desk today didn't help. I suggested what I might try, and he agreed - once he agreed that the edition of software I had, did exist! Anyway, it is okay at present so fingers crossed. Before 3 pm this afternoon, the system at work crashed, so that messed up the rest of the working day, and then when I took no.1 son for his piano lesson, my car wouldn't start to get us home again and we had to wait an hour and a half for the breakdown man.

It must be a weakness of mine - I always end up wanting to hug the breakdown man! Not that he was the most handsome thing on two legs - Noble Spouse is more so - just that I feel so pathetically grateful when my car is put back on its feet again! Only this time, I shall have to go an buy a new battery first thing tomorrow, assuming I get the car started. Ah well, I didn't have any call-outs last year, so that's not bad going.

No.1 son therefore got home SO very late that he couldn't do any cello practice or homework. I'll have to write a letter to his teacher to explain that it's all my fault. Bad Mum!!

No.2 son has molluscum contagiosum, and boy is his leg spotty - covered in the rash! No way can he go swimming at the weekend, and no way can he wear shorts for PE next week - he'll have to wear jogpants all day. Poor little soul!

No.3 son is fine. We adults have a touch of the same cold that felled the littlies last weekend, but it isn't so bad for us, so that's a relief.

You know, I could really enjoy a little glass of wine, when Noble Spouse and friend finish sorting out his computer!

Friday, November 28, 2003

‘Tis the season to be jolly –
Sniffle, snuffle, splutter,
Cough, cough, cough
Mummy, school would be pure folly,
Fevered brow and snotter -
We feel rough!

Well, that was our smallest boy. Having said that, think “warm water-bottle” rather than “like a furnace”. The middle one felt the same but had a curious red spotty rash on his thigh, which he said was hurting. Shingles? Oh, heck! Quick, make an appointment with the GP. Make apologies to work and request a day out of my leave entitlement. Rearrange a meeting that should have been at 1 pm. Tell the childminder she only has to collect one boy from school ...

Humbugs, the pair of them! The GP confirmed that they have colds. Not chest infections. And the spots are a wart virus that children tend to catch – not shingles. They could have been at school all day, and for invalids they were very chirpy indeed…..

I just love taking annual leave unnecessarily. Mind you, the week has been so hectic that in one sense it has been quite pleasant to take a morning off.

Here I am at the end of the day - I got home from work to find the littlest one had put himself to bed, fully dressed, and gone to sleep. The poor little lamb can't be feeling 100%, can he? And the middle one is curled up with a blanket on the settee. That's very unusual. We could have a subdued weekend at this rate ...!

Friday, November 21, 2003

Wednesday morning started too soon - with a nightmare at 5.30 am. Suddenly it was Christmas morning, and there were no Christmas stockings, and it was too late for Santa to do anything about it. Horror! Worse than a nightmare, this was a timely warning from the North Pole to get cracking with Christmas.

What did I do? Started Christmas shopping in my lunch-break, that's what. And looked out my Christmas list, and my Christmas cards, and started thinking hard about what needed doing. The box for my folks back home is now almost complete, so I'm not totally hopeless.

But there was a real, live nightmare before that. I took the underground to work, arriving in the city centre at 8.20 am. Everything was tickety-boo except for my feet - looking down, I spied one high shoe and one flattie. There was nothing for it - back onto the underground, back to the car-park, back home for a matching pair of shoes, and reverse it all again to get to work (finally) at 9.15 am. Which proves it's a good idea to try to get to work early in the first place, or I'd have been very late indeed...

Right, it's Friday night, two boys have been to Anchor Boys, and now the oldest is at Junior BB. Next, when Noble Spouse returns from visiting Auntie, I have to go to do the weekly supermarket shop. What a joy to anticipate! Tomorrow we are being visited by one of the Godmothers, and I will win instant approval from no.1 son if I make a lemon meringue pie for the occasion. They don't want simple, easy things, do they?!

As for the rest of the weekend - well, let's see how it goes before I comment!

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Parents' evening came round again today. Only, now that we have three boys at school, we have to get round three classrooms. We whizzed from room to room, quietly glowing with pride at the good comments and not in the least surprised at the (mercifully few) constructive criticisms. I mean, how could we be surprised to learn that no.3 Son doesn't like being told to do things? Or that no.1 Son tries to answer more than his fair share of the questions?! As for no.2 Son - I don't know where he folds up his halo and wings when he goes to bed at night!

Today I finally finished revising a long, learned article that I've been working at (on and off) for months. It's been posted, and now I can think about other urgent concerns - like shortening two pairs of trousers, preparing my accounts for the accountant, sorting out Christmas lists and finding the Christmas card boxes!

It's the age-old question: how do you make Christmas not cost too much without seeming mean, and how do you make it a memorable occasion without devoting half your everyday life to it?! We all have busy lives, but in December we try to fit in half as much again. Last year that extra half cost me a speeding ticket. This year, I'll still try to do as much but will put up with being late for the kids' Christmas parties if it comes to it!

Friday, October 24, 2003

Back to normal, did I say? Ha! As in, too busy for words. Too many queries at work, and everyone seemed to want things done to impossible deadlines. I was away on business two days last week and one day this week - not just jaunts for the fun of it. However, it felt as though I had to achieve even more than in a normal week, in less than a week. No wonder I feel stressed!

It's Tooth Week this week. An American penpal had a tooth out yesterday, a German penpal had oral surgery today, and the other day our no.1 son chipped a tooth eating bubble-gum! So I made an appointment, and we're off to the dentist next week.

In actual fact, it's time for the regular check-up. But for some reason, we never ever get the postcard that is supposedly sent to remind us. I must check if our postcode is wrong or something.

Auntie is still in hospital but is being sent home, to her own home, next Tuesday. Supposedly with social services dropping in four times a day, but they don't seem to have got the same message. A voicemail this afternoon said they'd be popping in at lunchtime each day. And what about the other three visits? She's mentally very confused, and I don't know if she'll manage. Noble Spouse will make further enquiries at the hospital this evening.

What else? Noble Spouse is out hospital visiting, then is going on to an exhibition that he's involved in, then if he gets home I go supermarket shopping. Not knowing when that would be, I nipped out for bread, milk, cereals and loo-rolls. With those essentials, the world won't come to an end if I don't shop for another day or two!

Right, the next task is to find the winter jackets and gloves, and see if they still fit their owners. Hey ho, it's a great life if you don't weaken ...

Sunday, October 05, 2003

A week on, and what's changed? Today Auntie is 87. After church, I made a lasagne for her birthday tea, a sausage casserole for her Monday lunch, a birthday cake to have here, and a smaller one to take home with her this evening. Then we had a snack lunch. An hour's peace, then off to swimming, back home to the birthday tea ... and here we are again. Stupid-face here completely forgot to give Auntie the smaller pink-iced cake to take away with her. What a twit! All I can think to do with it is to take it to work to be shared around, since there is a limit to how much pink-iced sponge cake any family can scoff.

There are problems all around. Our terminally sick dishwasher gets replaced tomorrow but when I phoned the number after five (as bidden), there was no-one there to tell me what time they're delivering the new machine. So - I have to take the kids to the childminder (five miles in the opposite direction to the way I would go to work) who will take them to school, so Hubby can stay at home for the new dishwasher. Hope it isn't hard getting cover for his own work!!

At lunchtime, oh joy, I have to drive ten miles BACK to the school (which is why I have to use the car tomorrow in the first place - normally I'd use the underground) - to see no.3 son's teacher to find out how his first weeks at school have been. Then back to work, hopefully all within the hour. Does this have the makings of "a fun day?"

Meanwhile my car indicator is certainly going kerplink, kerplink whenever I go round a corner, but I'm getting intermittent kerplink, kerscritch, kerscratches at other times too. Do I want to fit in a trip to the mechanic? Do I heck.

The Sunday Times has an article today saying that the Yummy Mummy types who gave up a career to spend time with the kids in their thirties, end up wishing they had a life outside the home in their forties. Heads you win, tails you can't lose? At least that's one dilemma I'll never face. Forty-five, and no chance of retiring before 70?!

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Sunday evening, and peace reigns - tenuously. Sons no.1 and 2 have had their swimming lessons, whilst I splashed aimlessly with son no.3. We've had tea. The ear-splitting echoes of a major five-year old tantrum are still ringing in my ears (he hit his brother, who was understandably mad at him) - but all is now quiet. And a schoolfriend of no.1 son is coming across for a sleepover. The delights!

Meanwhile Long Suffering Spouse has gone across to Auntie bearing a sponge-cake. I had to fill it with butter-icing - I've gone and used up all the jam. See what I mean? I'd never make a housewife.

Earlier this afternoon, I tried to post an interesting piece of info on a work-related website earlier, but kept getting an error message. What could be worse? You try to go over and above the call of duty on a holiday weekend, and something in cyberspace stops you doing it. I'm annoyed - having found something relevant, I want to share it abroad. Humph, and humph again!

Hey-ho, better go and tidy up before the little visitor arrives!

Saturday, September 27, 2003

There was a time, when I was on maternity leave with Son no.3, that my husband had an Aussie visitor - a bachelor of indeterminate years, I hasten to add. He spent at least half the evening preening himself, and liked the sound of his own voice. I might as well not have been there - apart from cooking the meal and ensuring that the merry sounds of three little boys didn't intrude on the evening's entertainment. At one memorable point in the proceedings, he smiled benignly, and (as though he was cracking his own special joke) called me a frustrated housewife.

Me! Who only ever took the minimum maternity leave because we needed my salary. A Housewife?

Public holidays serve to remind me that I wouldn't even make a very good housewife. I cook, and clean, and iron, organise hairdresser's trips and clean out goldfish bowls - all the things that any sensible person would do routinely, but I stuff the whole lot into one action-packed weekend and then wonder why it hasn't felt like a break.

Yesterday I cooked diligently - Scotch broth for Aunty, bread rolls, apple crumble ...

We invited Aunty across to tea, and had the satisfaction of watching her devour the lot with gusto (which goes to show she doesn't feed herself properly). And then once Aunty had been taken home and Son no.3 was in bed, I went and did the weekly supermarket run.

Once home, it was all I could do to summon up the energy to put it all away in the right places.

I've just been told (by Son no.3, the only one around downstairs) that it's teatime. I'll get no peace otherwise ...

Thursday, September 25, 2003

The September weekend! This contradiction in terms is a public holiday in our part of Scotland. Eureka - I had to take a day's leave because the boys are off school tomorrow (Friday) as well as the official Monday. Four days off - can't be bad.

But tomorrow morning, first thing, it's the trip to the hairdressers'. These days, I take the boys early in the morning. I've done so ever since an embarrassing visit about a year ago when they were really wild and got right up the nose of a stuffy elderly gent!

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Life is just a whirlwind of fun these days. Two birthdays (and two parties) in the space of a fortnight (that's what you get for carefully planning your family of three children, two and a half years apart...), not to mention supporting my husband in looking after his elderly auntie. Alzheimer's is a cruel disease. Now she can't shop for herself, doesn't remember when to eat, forgets that there's soup in the pan ready to heat up ... who said old age was graceful?

Hubby is a brick - going over nearly every day and sorting out a myriad of small but essential details. I cook. She came across for lunch on Sunday. I sent soup back across with her. Made a quiche yesterday - there's a note on her kitchen table reminding her to eat it, as she won't think to look in the fridge. Social Services are on the verge of setting up more domestic help, and it can't come soon enough. I can cope with being a working mother of three, but cooking for an Aged Relative as well is a bit of a responsibility.

Now I must get back to patching school trousers. I haven't decided which of my three patented techniques is the best yet!

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

What a life! I'm loaded with cold, my nose is blocked, and hubby's printer is jammed. Everything's just going fine! I looked up "exhausted mothers" on Google and found Top 10 Deadly Thoughts
This is on a website called Mom to Mom Chat. Haven't come across it before, but I'll return to it. Repeat after me, We Don't Have to Be Perfect. And again, all together now ...

My youngest son had a screaming heebie-jeebie of a tantrum at bedtime today. He's FIVE, for God's sake. It means the tantrum can be louder and the kicks more powerful. Keep calm? Walk away? Nothing worked! Maybe Mom to Mom Chat will have some useful advice about that, too!

Friday, August 22, 2003

School began yesterday, and we now have three schoolboys. There was, however, a complaint from the youngest. "We didn't do writing!" To which I replied that it gave him a good reason to go back again today!

He looked very sweet in his navy blue uniform polo shirt and sweatshirt. Too bad that everyone else had on their uniform white shirt and tie! Today he is wearing those instead. She-Who-Knows (my mother) advised that I shouldn't give in to him, and should keep him wearing the polo shirt. But why? We have both. If he wants to look like the rest, is that such a crime? For heaven's sake, we're talking about regulation school uniform not designer trainers!

We went to buy a cheap Ikea computer desk for our oldest son yesterday afternoon. When I got home I found I'd lost the ruby out of my engagement ring. I'm mad at myself - I probably knocked it out while manhandling the flat-pack off the shelf to the trolley, or the trolley to the car. I went back and looked again, but there wasn't much hope of finding something measuring no more than 1.5 mm (max!) across. Today I shall go to the jewellers and get a quote for replacing the ruby and repairing the claw.

Last night my colleague came to collect Maisie the Russian dwarf hamster after her holidays (the colleague's, not the hamsters). Due to a series of misunderstandings as to who was actually looking after her, Maisie started her own vacation in one hamster-loving household, then came to mine, then back to the first while we visited my parents, and finally back to us again. A much-travelled hamster! We'll miss her, but at least our own doesn't pee his bed every night!

Back to work for me on Monday. Before then I have to do all the odd tasks I haven't managed to do all summer! Like clean the windows, shampoo a couple of carpets, take films to be developed, buy birthday presents for my brother and his fiancee and a present for their beautiful new daughter ... I might draw breath by midnight!

Maybe I should clean a window or two before I take the new schoolboy for his second school day. (Day? The first two "days" are each just an hour long. Hardly worth going for!!)

Friday, August 01, 2003

It's an epic week in the life of of a working supermum - my youngest son has graduated from being a "nursery boy" to a "nearly schoolboy". He's puffed up with pride at his elevated status - no more travelling to the nursery with Mum every day. Instead, he's getting to know his future "after-school" childminder and having a whale of a time with his big brothers. Oh boy, oh joy!

Had a tantrum yesterday, all the same. "Big boys don't use booster seats in the car", he told my husband. He took some convincing that the prerequisite for abandoning the booster seat was an increase in height!

Meanwhile, Pseudo Supermum has to get used to travelling to work alone every day. My colleagues are taking bets on how long it will be before I accidentally ring the nursery doorbell to collect my son in the time-honoured fashion! My car is now occupied by a small cuddly teddy in school uniform, as a substitute for the small cuddly boy who sat in the front passenger seat only a couple of weeks ago!

I get to work earlier - can't set out later or I'll get caught up in the rush-hour traffic. I get home a little earlier. And I can listen to the radio to my heart's content. But I do miss the conversation! (Mind you, one thing I won't miss is his earnest inspection of the daily lunchbox to make sure that "the ladies" will approve of it! School dinner-ladies aren't that concerned!)

Only three weeks before school starts again - so I suppose it's time for me to start another of my Grand Lists to make sure I haven't forgotten anything!

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Oh joy, it's the weekend. How many working mothers spend their week wishing it was the weekend, and their weekend wishing it was the week again?

At work, they don't turn their noses up at your cooking, decline to eat then spend the afternoon complaining of being hungry!

At work, you tidy your own desk, and the area immediately around it. Other people tidy their own. Family, please note! Washed, folded and sometimes even ironed laundry does NOT find its way back to the wardrobe unaided. Neither does food or cutlery saunter onto the dining table without some human input.

On the other hand, you don't get hugs at work just because someone loves you. (Well, most of us would be worried if that did happen!)

Mind you, the reaction is the same at work or home if I mention baking. How to get instant popularity? Do a Nigella Lawson, and forget any pretensions to intellectual capacity! (She's lucky - she's got looks, and brains, AND can cook. Must be the looks I'm missing out on. See my last posting. Sulk.)

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Today was the first time I've had to buy three pairs of new school shoes - yeech! (For readers not in Scotland, yeech rhymes almost but not exactly with the German "ich"). I had an afternoon off today, and decided that it was better to get new shoes now, rather than wait until just before the new term and risk not finding the right sizes. I planned my battle campaign carefully - each boy took a Gameboy to help them sit patiently. Each was promised a Calypso ice-lolly at home if they behaved - but I would get it if they didn't!

It was a riot in Clarks', I tell you. Did the wee fella want to stand still and get his feet measured? Did he hell! I took a deep breath, flexed my flexible friend to ensure it wouldn't break, then just told them to pick anything they liked so long as it was black. Let's face it, Clarks' shoes aren't cheap - but the difference between "least" and "most" expensive wasn't going to be that great. At least they haven't been coerced into something they didn't like.

We returned home in under an hour - maybe shopping centres aren't as bad as I've always maintained. The parking is cheap, near the store, and the complex is only five minutes' from home. Better than a trip into town, anyway. No-one had blotted their copy-book, and there hadn't been a hint of my notorious tension headaches.

Having enjoyed a week's summer camp with one organisation, my oldest boy was booked to go on a different one later in the summer with a different group. Having been threatened with a "beating up", he (not surprisingly) doesn't want to go. Is this bullying, or isn't it?! You can encourage a kid to go to school and be brave - but why should he "be brave" when a holiday is meant to be something pleasurable and fun? He shouldn't. I thought you'd agree!

Monday, July 07, 2003

Freedom! Yesssss! (The boys have gone to an evening holiday club that's running every night this week.) So what can Supermum do with her two absolutely free hours? No housework, no cooking, no tidying. Maybe I'll just read a good book. Or is that just displacement activity for the short story I could be writing?

Every working mum needs a bolt-hole. When the boys started giggling and sniggering about various parts of Supermum's anatomy - at tea-time, believe it or not! - I told my husband that what I needed was an island, accessible by ferry only in fine weather when the tide was right. Of course, I'd need to scramble a helicopter to get me there in a hurry, but once there, no-one could find me.

I plainly haven't changed very much since the time when I was nine and "ran away from home". I sat in a field full of waist-high grass near my school for an hour, thinking smugly "they'll be sorry now I'm gone". Then went back home, to be informed by an even smugger little sister that "they" weren't sorry, just mad.

Lo and behold, "they" came home, and they were mad. Very mad. Absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder, then.

If someone invented respite care for parents, as my husband has been known to say, they'd make an absolute fortune!

Sunday, July 06, 2003

With our two oldest boys back from a week's "camping", the poor old washing machine doesn't know why it's being punished! But I did my strike for equality - the boys did empty their bags and load the washing machine. Just to prove my point that the washing doesn't get done without human intervention - and it doesn't always have to be mine!

Now, of course, they're eager to know what delights are in store for them for the rest of the holidays. I have a pile of pamphlets and brochures, but while Supermum is out at work, I'm afraid the options are hanging around the house with Dad, or a quick visit to their childminder when Dad's out at work. Child tax benefit doesn't take into account what it costs to amuse one's offspring throughout the holidays, does it? (Unless you can prove that they did the same approved, vetted, costly activity for more than a month! And even then it isn't exactly clear if it would count, unless you have a nanny or registered carer.)

What do you do when your child comes in off the street complaining that three other kids were threatening to beat up his friend - then the same kids knock at the door wanting to "play with him" two minutes later? Nah, he isn't coming out to play!

Who said being a Mum was easy?! Funny - you spend all week looking forward to the weekend, then by the end of the weekend you're looking forward to the week ...

Saturday, July 05, 2003

I came of age in the seventies, but finally grew up in the eighties. In those days, we career girls were told we could have it all - the job, the partner and the kids. All at once, successfully, with no hassle. Easy peasy - just take a deep breath and off you go.

Well, the eighties came and went. I bought the philosophy, married the husband but hadn't quite got round to the kids. By the nineties, I was beginning to realise that I'd be a geriatric mum or no mum at all! But I still clung onto that supermum myth.

"You won't manage it", said the Prophet of Doom. (My mum, that is.) "It'll all be too much for you."

Sniff. We needed my job if we were to contemplate having a family. No choice, believe me.

Somehow I've come through the sleepless nights, the anxious calls from childminder ("he's been a bit sick - would you like to come and take him home?"), and the notes from nursery ("Next week we are having a fancy dress party, and children are asked to bring a costume ..."). Our third son starts school in August.

But supermum? I think not! The ironing basket sits on top of the freezer, with a nasty menacing smirk on its face. The fuller it gets, the worse its expression. There's a huge pile of washing sort-of-folded waiting (for me, of course) to put it away. A load of laundry in the machine, another load waiting to go in, huge piles of mail waiting to be dealt with or filed, and to top it all, it's going to be a wet weekend.

I might present a public image of Supermum - but privately, it's more like controlled chaos!