No, my nephew hasn’t suddenly aged ten years over night, and no, I haven’t adopted a starter kid (already potty trained, house trained and of school age) I have instead taken a part time nanny job.
Which is great because it gives me my days to write and then at three I go and pretend to be a mum and can say things like, ‘have you hung up your clothes?’ or ‘tidy your room!’ or, ‘it’s time to brush your teeth!’ and be all put upon, a hands-on-the-hips type. It’s great. I love it.
Working again was a necessity. While these six months off have been great and has produced a book of poetry (currently with the editors) a half written novel (I am am determined to push through the halfway mark and NOT decide it’s rubbish, bin the months of work and start again) and some gardening feats for which I am proud (I have grown a full sized cucumber. Yes, I am pleased) these six months have not actually produced any money.
Yet I knew the last thing I wanted to do was put myself in another stressful nine to five job that I hated, where writing took a back seat and so did my house and husband. Looking after two fantastic kids for a few hours a week which brings in enough to take care of the mortgage is the perfect solution.
However. I was not prepared for the fashion show that is picking up a kid from a prestigious private school.
The first time I picked up my charge, it was a 37 degree day, and so I arrived in a thin sleeveless dress in order to keep cool. I had my Mulberry Bayswater tote in the crook of my arm and was quite pleased with myself at how much I fit in with the rich mummy set.
Yet at the second pick up I reverted back to my jeans and t-shirt, and left my bag in the car, as it’s easier to juggle all the equipment my charge often comes out of school with. (Who knew children needed so much stuff? A school bag, a swimming bag, a PE bag and soon there will be the cello, which I’m not looking forward to.)
I thought I was being quite a mum with the jeans and t-shirt combo. Hey, look at me, I’m a busy mum on the go, dressing for comfort.
Perhaps this would be appropriate in the ‘normal’ world, yet the one which I have entered is desperately un-normal.
As I looked around at the other mothers with their shirt dresses and floaty shirt ensembles, with more layers of fabric than Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, I felt decidedly out of place.
So on the third pick up (as I waited ten minutes in a line of black SUV’s before finally being admitted to the car park) I’d gone for my own floaty shirt, three quarter pant ensemble, thinking I would fit the bill.
Oh no. Wrong again. These women, all far younger than me, were parading up and down with the zebra crossing as their runway, their children as their accessories (they’re so in this season) wearing balloon shirts in shades of grey and army green, ruffled shirt dresses with either thick leather belts or thin gold chain-like waist accessories, perfectly blow-waved hair (who, on what planet, can have blow-waved hair on thirty-plus degree days?) and flat gold-embellished sandals which is their idea of ‘comfort wear.’
I honestly look like the mum whose kid only got into the school because of a scholarship.
Have decided that there must be some kind of manual for what clothes are acceptable for school pick up for how can I be the only one to get it wrong? So went to the ever helpful Google and typed in ‘what to wear for pick up at posh school.’
For the first time, Google let me down. All right, is not the first time. I once used Google to search for pictures of hairy-chested men which resulted in a virus which completed buggared my computer. At least this search has left me unscathed, but still without answers.
So after much thought I decided that Gwyneth Paltrow’s condescending website, Goop, would be the place to go to find what I need. She is, after all, the ultimate posh yummy mummy.
Gwyneth tells me that the key is to create my own ‘uniform.’ Get a few basic pieces and stick with them, mixing and matching. Unfortunately her uniform consists of a lot of grey pieces and I don’t own a single grey item of clothing. Besides, I already thought I had a uniform of sorts; the colour black. A real no-no for the school my charge is picked up from.
I headed over to Google Images to see if that would be of any help, and entered ‘stylish mum clothes’ this resulted in a whole range of pictures of pregnant women. Some of these were of interest to me as, given I’m a voluptuous, curvy type (media speak for fat) I would probably find better options among the maternity wear.
Grey still seems to be the predominate colour. Why grey? Why is that colour so acceptable for mothers? Are you taken aside after the birth of your first child to some special wing in the hospital where they give you lessons on what to wear, all outfits shown in different shades of grey?
The disturbing of all images I found relating to mum clothes was this:
It comes from the site Lookbook which describes itself as being the number one source for fashion inspiration for REAL people around the world.
Really? A checked shorts suit with ribboned belt and jumbo quilted Chanel bag? Is this outfit really for ‘real’ people?
On seeing this image I have realised that this whole outfit search is a lost cause. A part-time nanny job is not going to bring in enough money to even come close to competing with these high-end fashion mothers, and even if I tried to do a ‘Target version’ I’d probably still get it wrong.
Perhaps I should just go back to wearing my own daggy threads while reserving the right to judge all mothers for their impeccable appearance like a proper martyr would. At least it does provide me with some entertainment. You never know, my new book might be set in the world of posh yummy mummys.