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"you should be sneaking out past your parents not your children"

One of the problems with being the "older woman" is that prioritising one's life becomes a massively complicated process.

On the one hand there is your family. Your children need you, and deserve your full attention. They require you be available to you whenever they are awake. They require this attention both for serious problems (I fell off my bike... I'm bleeding... I think I just set the dog on fire...) and for the many tiny moments of self affirmation and ego-building that are necessary for human growth and development (I wrote the word "beautiful"!... I didn't win the race, but it was just for fun, and I'm happy... Would you like to come to a tea party?)

And for a million and one other, uncategorisable things (he's pulling my hair... She took my shiny Garidos... he won't stop looking at me)

Then there are the day to day tasks that come with responsibility to other human beings. The washing of clothes and crockery, the making of beds (and the 3 am midwinter changing of beds - although it's often simpler to strip the child and tuck them in with you until morning) the cooking, and shopping, and gardening and and and and ...

And on the other hand, there is one's beloved. He needs you, and deserves your full attention. And whilst he is unlikely to require your attention whenever he is awake, he will feel saddened and left out when you are not there for serious problems (I can't find a job... My parents are angry with me... I need a map of the Aiel Waste and there just aren't any) or for the many tiny moments of self affirmation and ego-building that are necessary for human growth and development (I finally got the wings in my drawing right... I've got a job interview tomorrow... Would you like to come to a movie with my mates and me?)

And for a million and one other, uncategorisable things (what are we going to get him for his 21st?... have you seen the latest PVP?... Do you prefer Willow to Spike?)

Then there are the day to day things that come with choosing to share one's life with another human being. Always making time for him when he needs or wants you. Not being waspish or snarly, even when you've had a bad day - it's not his fault the children tried to wash the cat

Most of the time one can run these two lives in parallel. You see him when the children are at school, or sleeping, or with their father. You call him when they are playing with friends, or on the computer.

But sometimes the lines converge.

When he's staying over and your daughter goes into a jealous fit, because he'd rather cuddle you than her; when she creeps into bed with the two of you in the middle of the night... and then wets the bed; when you're both enjoying a great gossip, filled with television trivia and little loving fluttery nothings, and your son needs you to explain the meaning of the word "tampon" to him.

Having your afternoon delight interrupted by a rudely poking finger, belonging to a five year old.

Mostly, you balance the two lives by burning the candle at both ends - Mild Mannered Mother by day, but by night the Wild Temptress with nothin' but Lerve on her mind.

Mostly, it works.

Mostly.

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