Friday, 11 June 2010

#fridayflash A Woman's Work

I wake at six to an unfamiliar ceiling. Alex is snoring, and I can just hear the sounds of Ben stirring next door.  So I must be in the right place. It takes a moment for realisation to dawn with the sunlight peeking through the cracks in the curtain. We won, though I never thought we would. We Won. Therefore We Moved. And now my life will change in - oh, so many ways.

I don't need to stagger out of bed, and peek out of that curtain, to know the street below will be full of paparazzi.  I've no intention of doing that - giving them the chance of a rapid snap. Me in my nightie with my hair all over the place. No doubt the day will come and I'll let down my guard. Some photographer will get lucky on the back of my hitched up skirt or drunken pratfall.  But not today.

Cherie, Sarah, Sam. They've all been here before me. Modern women - who juggled careers and children and lived lives independent from their husbands - until they reached this bedroom. How did they stand it? Cherie, one of the brightest of her generation, reduced in the public eye to a scrounging scally. Didn't Sarah have a job in PR once? Somehow it submerged into twitter and her husband's smelly socks. As for Sam, she gave it all up the minute she crossed the threshold. A family can only take one alpha parent after all. And someone has to be at home for the kids.

Of course I supported Alex when he said he wanted to be party leader. A girl wants to stand by her man when thinks he's in with a chance. I just didn't expect him to get it. Still, I thought, it won't last long, we can return to obscurity soon. No-one expected the Prime Minister to call a snap election,  but it should have been a shoo-in. Our electoral pain should have been over in a month. We should have lost with dignity, and got on with the rest of our lives, knowing, that at least we tried.

All it took was a  few thousand votes. A two percent swing the other way and we'd have been back at home drowning our sorrows. Because of those few thousand people bothering to go to the ballot box, I'm lying here staring at an unfamiliar ceiling. Wondering how the hell we manage a life that had enough complexity in it already.

The clock blinks six fifteen in red digitalised numbers. Ben potters into the room and climbs in bed for an early morning cuddle. Alex continues to snore.  In a minute, Alice will wake. In a minute, I'll have to work out where we have breakfast, find school uniforms, determine how we get them there. In a minute Alex will be woken and dragged off into a world that will consume him utterly. I doubt that I will see him much before tea time.

A woman's work is never done.


Icy Sedgwick said...

Interesting flash! I suppose the women that stand behind the prime ministers often get ignored, which is silly since you know the old saying - "Behind every great man is an even greater woman".

Well-written, I enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

Very nice and intimate look at the struggles of going on with life in the public eye. Your writing is excellent.

Barely 6 am and she's got all this going through her head? Bless her.

Good story.

Sulci Collective said...

It's a curious recent development that Prime Minsters have had newborns while in power. I suppose it is indicative of a move away from the elder statesmen patrician leadership we've always been ruled by.

I like the perspective you offered on this. I wondered what heinous sin she and or her husband had committed to have the Pap camped on their doorstep. Now we know!

Tony Noland said...

Nicely drawn piece. I wonder how it will fell on the tenth or fiftieth morning of waking up in that bedroom.

Marisa Birns said...

Yes, I imagine that the spouses of people who are in the political public eye do wake up that very first morning and think about how to manage a life made complex by a change in circumstances.

Very good story!

John Wiswell said...

Poor lady. I'll go set the hose on the reporters. Claim I'm watering the weeds.

Anonymous said...

Came across this from my twitter feed, probably Icy, and loved this piece.
The tone of regret and something else I cannot name held my attention. The domesticity behind the leader is given scant attention, but this opens it all up. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Adam B

Virginia Moffatt said...

Well thanks for all the comments folks.

Yep, Gracie, at 6am a lot goes through a working mother's head - she'll have more than most!

I wonder too, Tony, what she'll feel like in a few weeks.

This was somewhat inspired by a comment I read that according to a neighbour Samantha Cameron wasn't that keen to win, and the fact she's given up work already. Must take a strong relationship to survive it...

mazzz in Leeds said...

A very gentle piece, you can tell her anxiety hasn't quite reached its zenith yet
I'm pretty sure I would feel exactly the same - although perhaps my worst fear in her situation would be having to put up with Tory wives at functions :-)

Deanna Schrayer said...

Nice story - nice of you to even think of it. The majority of us never consider what goes through the minds of those spouses. I know I wouldn't want to be there!

David Masters said...

Politics is a gambler's game, isn't it? And the woman's/partner's side of things is rarely seen. Well told.

Laurita said...

I know a little of what this woman is going through, and I think you nailed it. Balancing a household under those circumstances would be a nightmare. Just wait until she meets the press.