There’s a term I’ve only just been introduced to, which perfectly sums up how I was feeling this afternoon.
It’s a Tuesday feeling, although it comes on at certain other points in my week, depending on where I am and who I’m with.
Mumvy – the name introduced to me by Alison at Not Another Mummy Blog.
It’s a mixture of inadequacy and envy. It’s deeply unattractive and always leaves me cold. But I just can’t shake it.
This afternoon I was at my toddler’s swimming lesson. As I hurried to get her changed before she deposited a puddle on the floor, while manoeuvring my own wobbly behind into a polka dot number from Sainsburys, I was desperately aware of the other mums in the upmarket hotel changing room.
Their conversations were of face cream that cost “£250 – but it’s AMAZING!!!” and breast implants, holidays and designer toddler gear, the new Landrover and the horses. I couldn’t help but hear the chatter as I shrank into the corner, wearing my supermarket bargain, attempting to pinch some colour into my pallid cheeks.
The mumvy grew yet more as I noticed the washboard stomachs and Dior bikinis. I tried to tread into the swimming area on my tiptoes, just to avoid the impact on the ground and inevitable wobble up my thighs, as the Cheryl Cole lookalikes breezed past me in all their beautiful glory.
My chipped toenails and pasty shins stood out in stark contrast to their perfectly manicured feet and bronze skin, still golden after a summer in Italy.
As my child screamed at the sight of the dreaded woggle – that instrument of swimming lesson torture – the offspring of my objects of mumvy positively beamed. They kissed the woggle before performing a skilled half a width to the wall, while my two year old glared on.
After the lesson I rushed to get dressed and dry while simultaneously hiding my Primark pants and holey socks. I totted up calculations for how long it’d take to get home, cook the fishfingers, get Frog to bed, before sitting down and getting some work done. And my mumvy grew into a huge monster as the other mums discussed what the nanny was preparing for supper that night, while they scheduled their evening in front of the TV and next spa appointment.
I left the swimming pool with a wave to everyone, my smile hiding my inner feelings of inadequacy and bitterness.
But as I was walking towards the car park, one of the other mums caught up with me. I confessed that I was tired after my early morning and commute.
She asked me what I did for a job. “Oh, you get to go on the radio?” She enthused. “And you get paid to write things?” As I nodded, completely caught up in envy over the woman’s handbag which clearly cost more than my car, I was taken aback by what came next.
“I wish I did a job I enjoyed,” confessed the mum. “I always loved to write when I was at school. And the RADIO! Wow, that must be so much fun.”
She waved a goodbye and turned to leave. But not before I glimpsed a shadow of mumvy cross her face.
It would seem it strikes us all, sooner or later.