Stop the presses: Mummy Wars do exist! I know this because I am currently having one. It is a battle of epic proportions. Literal tears have been shed. Each morning I wake with a sense of foreboding, wondering how many men I might lose. I can hear the air raid siren now.
But here’s the thing about this Mummy War: I’m having it with myself.
I’m one of those dastardly mothers who chooses to do “everything”. They call us “women who want it all”. In this context, “it all” means “a job”. It has also been known to mean “an education”, “some friends” or “new shoes”. Women having it all is quite different from men having it all, in that no one has ever muttered such words in all of history.
At any rate, I am currently sick with the same thing that everyone else has – one part cold, one part cough, one part heavy fatigue. I lose my voice overnight, hack up some insides for a while, improve marginally throughout the day and then become incredibly bad company at around 8pm.
Because I am a woman who wants it all, I am not taking the easy way out by sleeping off this minor illness. I am working. I’m not in the office sharing my germs around, but I am sitting at my desk, doing very strenuous things like replying to emails. Because that’s what women who want it all do. I feel like a bit of boiled ham floating in a pool of tepid milk, but that’s the price you pay in this Mummy War. If the other mothers knew that I was taking it easy so as not to end up with pneumonia, they would laugh about me at pick up time!
This morning I dropped the kids off at before care (very late, due to my failure to rally the troops prior to 7:30am). The before care lady took one look at me and said, “No offense Anna, but you look like shit. Like, all pasty.” Recognising her as the enemy, I told her how little time I had to commit to recovery due to my having it all. She didn’t miss a beat, deliberately sabotaging me by suggesting I “sleep it off”. Yeah, you’d like that! All those hours of missed pursuit of it all! What would the other mothers think? “There goes Anna. She gave up having it all in favour of sleeping.”
Later on, a well-meaning friend sent me an incredibly insulting email. “You should have a rest,” she said. “What about if I just get a haircut?” I shot back, expertly implying that I could afford both money and time for a haircut due to my having it all. “No,” she said, “you have to actually rest. Like, with your eyes closed.”
Then I realised. I’ve been speaking like Joan Rivers for six days now. I can’t remember driving home from school this morning. I can’t swallow anything harder than orange juice. I am losing the Mummy War, and the only person who gives a shit is me. Because I’m the only person in the Mummy War. Because there is no Mummy War.