It's only midnight and baby M is crying. I'm not sure why but she's beyond settling herself back to sleep. As I get up to her to soothe her, Mr MBAW rolls over but doesn't stir. It's 1.30am by the time I can get M back down. I'm not sure if she feels unwell, but she just wants to be snuggled and nursed, crying each time I tentatively lower her into her cot. As I climb back into bed, 90 minutes after getting out, Mr MBAW is still asleep. I hope M settles as I have some tough meetings to do tomorrow, but sleep isn't on the cards for me tonight.
It's now 3am and she's awake again. It must be her teeth. I read somewhere that the pain can be worse at night. But baby M doesn't want Calpol. It takes me 45 minutes to coax it into her and 15 minutes later she's back in her cot and I'm crawling into bed. Mr MBAW is snoring.
It's 5am and M is ready to start the day. I gather her up and slide her into bed with me so that I can rest my eyes whilst she nurses. Mr MBAW makes me tea and toast when he wakes at six and then supervises M whilst I shower, ready for the day. Everything is hazy and my eyes are stinging from the lack of sleep, but we get out of the house on time (managing to remember nappy and wipe supplies) and we're through the door at nursery with 10 minutes to spare until my first meeting. But M doesn't want to let go and I have to prise her off and leave her sobbing. The worst of mummy guilt weighing me down.
A busy day, including a call to nursery to check on my girl, and it's back to collect her. She is grizzly once we're home. Desperate for her 'bobbies' (breastmilk) and impatient whilst I stick something in the oven. She wants to be carried, making it impossible to get changed, but I don't mind at all. She's intense and clingy after nursery but I've pined for her all day so I'm happy to hold her!
Tea, bath, book and bed is a routine for the three of us. Our little family unit. Mr MBAW blows bubbles at bath time whilst I wash M, brush her teeth and administer Calpol when required!
I know that M is the most important thing in Mr MBAW's life. He absolutely adores her, and he's a lovely daddy. But I'm pretty sure he doesn't have the same thought chain as me... have I got the nursery bag? Are there spare clothes in it? Are her shoes getting tight? When did I last cut her nails? What will she have for tea? Is her swimming kit clean for Saturday? Have I got a gift for the party she's going to?..... you all know the list.... you all think it after all!
It was in the news just recently that there is a gender pay gap in the UK, and it got me thinking. According to the report, average pay for full time female employees is 9.4% lower than full time male employees. But as shocking as that is, I don't think that that is what really makes us unequal. To me the fact that we are mothers is the cause of the inequality. When we carry our children, something fundamental changes within us, and it can never be reversed. Our whole person changes, and I think it changes for the better. I accept that I will always be the one thinking about the nursery bag, Calpol stock and whether I have trimmed M's toenails, which means I accept that my headspace is never going to be 'my' headspace again.
If you had told me ten years ago that a 38 year old me would say we weren't equal to men, and I would accept it, I'd have laughed you out of the room! But to me now, I see we're not the same and we can't be. We are mothers. And that's the reason I believe we'll never be equal.
We will never be equal. But we will always be more, and for me, being 'more' is enough.
As William Golding famously said 'I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men; they are far superior and always have been.'