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I feel bad most of the time that I don’t do enough with the kids. It’s an occupational hazard that goes with being a working mother, I guess. I work out of the home for five hours a day, five days a week, and it does take it’s toll.

Instead of playing with the kids each night and over the weekend I do have to do some of those jobs that I obviously can’t get to during school hours. Like washing, cleaning, making dinners and lunches, shopping, the dishes and general tidying up.

As a result, I’m not really the most fun and involved mum. And it does weigh on my mind.

So, I sometimes feel the need to do more. Which leads me into situations where I have to shake my head afterwards and realise that I should have known better…

Last Friday I needed to go out and run a few errands after work so I decided to take the kids with me (actually there was no choice about it, I HAD to take them with me!) and spend some time with them.

The first stop was the bank. Following the sale of our land we needed to clear up some accounts and I went there to try and close one of them. Of course, my question was not easily answered and required the service assistant to make a call which took time.

While waiting for the answer, 3 year old Delilah decided to perform gymnastics on the metal queue barrier, 7 year old Matilda filled out bank forms and wrote out her name in bubble writing (apparently this is THE thing with Year 2 girls), while 9 year old Gilbert had a mini-meltdown and started swearing at strangers.

Yeah. I was the mother with the out of control kids, in a roomful of strangers, just wanting to do their banking and get the hell out of dodge.

What topped the whole thing off was that I couldn’t close the account anyway as both Nathan and I have to be present to make that happen. So, I had taken the kids there for no reason. Awesome.

Next up was the solicitor. I somehow coaxed the kids up the stairs with the promise of afternoon tea afterwards. Guess what? The solicitors were closed – obviously they like getting an early mark on Fridays. I was silently weeping inside – seriously, I had gone through all this effort so far, for absolutely nothing?

The chemist at least could fill my script so, filled with a little more optimism, we set off for the cafe. It started well, they had some yummy looking chocolate cupcakes and could do mini-milkshakes – win. But the milkshakes were apparently too small for Gilbert and the cupcakes not actually to Delilah’s taste.

Then Gilbert had another mini-meltdown after becoming sticky with the chocolate icing and needing to be cleaned up right away. I skolled my hot chocolate (such a waste of a good hot chocolate…) and took them all to the parents room to clean up and have a comfort stop.

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At this point, I was at the end of my tether and just wanted to go home. Five hours at work followed by an hour or two wrangling uncooperative kids in a public setting will sap the very life out of anyone. I started heading towards the exit as the beacon of hope to end this sad and sorry tale when Matilda reminded me.

I needed to pick my script up at the chemist.

Crap and double crap. By this stage Delilah thought it was fun to run away from mum and go into random stores, such as the newsagents, to look and feel all the pretty things. Meanwhile, Gilbert was making no secret of his displeasure in being amidst the great unwashed and Matilda just kept asking random questions, very loudly.

I just wanted to go home. The very last thing I wanted to do was head away from the exit and take them anywhere else.

But, I needed to go back. The script was for my “happy pills”. If I needed them anytime, it was now.

So, I dragged my three very unwilling children back through the bowels of the shopping centre to get to the chemist to procure my drugs. It is no coincidence that I helped myself to two 100 packs of panadol on my way to the checkout. By this time I had one mother of a headache!

We did make good our escape and got back to the car in one piece. But I did have to wonder – why?

Why do I think it’s a good idea to take my brood out on my own and try to spend time with them while running errands? Why do I insist on taking my son out when he clearly does not relish being in a public place? Why do I think “it will be different this time?”

Why do I have to continually remind myself – I should have known better?

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