You run around in a flurry of activity, picking up forgotten toys and odd socks, calling your children's names in vain. You glance at the clock, gasp, mutter unmentionables under your breath, sweep crumbs off the floor, ask your children again (a little less patiently now) to brush teeth/hair, make beds, remember their lunches. You hear your children playing/arguing, completely oblivious to your louder calls or rising stress levels. Am I invisible? HELLO!!!!! It's me, Mum, asking you to do this, that, and the other!
WHAT DO YOU MEAN "YES???!!"
Somehow, you get to school just about on time, treating the children to growls and scoldings all the way. One might listen if you're lucky.
You step out of the car, see another mother. You exchange warm smiles. Public face time. Other mother asks, "How are you?" You answer, "Oh, wonderful thanks, what a lovely day!"
Your children gaze up at you in wonder and slight bewilderment (which changes to growing cynicism with age). But this, thankfully, is when they step up to the mark, because they start to make pleasantries too. They don't tell that you've been a bag of raging stress and war cries for the last hour. Instead they bid you a fond farewell at the school gates, tell you they love you, then chatter away merrily with their friends. You walk away with that tired, familiar feeling of guilt washing over you.
The Groundhog Day feeling you suffer as you find yourself on your hands and knees wiping mis-fired wee off the floor again. The weary frustration felt when another sibling argument starts (or never stops). Or the guilt that strikes you head-on when you see the searing damage the sun has done to your toddler's skin after you've forgotten to apply sun cream. Oh agonised ouch!