Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip Working Mum {the ordinary moments}

Five o’clock feeling


There is an invisible force that starts to work at about ten to five.  The clock has been showing 16.50 for at least the last half hour, during which I’ve sent at least a hundred emails, tidyed my desk, checked the clock, written my next to do list, checked the clock, checked all my letters went out, and checked the clock, but now finally it says 17.00.

I know that I’ve got plenty of time for my train but even so it’s like a shot of adreneline and I whizz round closing email and trackers and cabinets and put away all the other bits of detritus from a work day, and go.

Down the stairs, out the door, along the road, round the corner, down the hill. Not running, not yet, but walking as fast as I possibly can.

Into the station, check the board and my train is on time, but something catches my ear; the station announcer apologising for a late train.  Well it might be late for him, and it might be late according to the text that scrolls across the announcement board and possibly according to most of the people on the platform but for me it’s beautifully, wonderfully on time.  The train that will get me home a full 15 minutes earlier isn’t here yet and I sprint, pushing every last ounce of energy into getting me up the stairs three at a time, along the bridge, around the people with a giant suitcase and a cello case, down the stairs, juddering to a halt at the back of a mass of people queuing at the train doors.

But even though I know I’m getting home faster than I’d thought I’m still longing the miles away, counting down each and every station.

But finally we get there, and finally I’m in the car and pulling into the drive.  And when I open the door of the house there’s a tiny moment where they haven’t quite noticed yet, a family at peace and at play, or sometimes a family in noise and in chaos, but a family that is not yet quite complete.

Space for the Butterflies - Five o'clock feeling

Space for the Butterflies - Five o'clock feeling

A head jerks up and sees me standing in the door, and first one and then another shout “Mummy!!!” as they throw themselves into arms or legs or any bit they can get a hold on.  And the littlest wails to be picked up and cuddled and held as he realises what has been missing all day.  I hug them, kiss them, breathe in the smells of baby, of felt tip pen on fingers and a smidgen of someone’s lunch mushed into their hair.

Space for the Butterflies - Five o'clock feeling

Space for the Butterflies - Five o'clock feeling

Space for the Butterflies - Five o'clock feeling

It’s both the best moment of my day, and in a funny way one of the hardest.  Best because finally no one is missing, I don’t have to correct myself when I accidentally refer to myself in the plural, and because the backbone of grit and determination that has held me together all day can stand down, and best because of the armfuls of hugs and the warm smiles from H, and worst because it’s in that moment that I realise just how much I have been missing them.  The pleasure I take in my job, the fun and camaraderie in my team, and the extraordinary amount of cake we got through this week, all seem to fade into obscurity in comparison to the perfect joy of being back together, a five again once more.

Space for the Butterflies - Five o'clock feeling

Until tomorrow, when I’ll be looking forward to five o’clock again.

Space for the Butterflies - Five o'clock feeling




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  • Claire @ Clarina's Contemplations 27/09/2015 at 7:38 am

    This is a beautiful piece of writing Carie… One of your best! I’m so glad to hear it’s all going so well, hard as the adjustment must be.x

    • Carie 27/09/2015 at 2:58 pm

      thank you lovely – we’ve survived one week, now we just have to do the rest!

  • Potty Mouthed Mummy 27/09/2015 at 8:53 am

    I only work in the office one day a week now, but that moment of getting home and being reunited with my boy is still magical. Gorgeous words x

    • Carie 27/09/2015 at 2:58 pm

      Isn’t it just – and thank you 🙂

  • Helen | Wonderfully Average 27/09/2015 at 11:25 am

    Such a beautiful post. It must be one of the best things about going to work- coming home to a reaction like this. My little boy normally runs past me when I collect him after work then blows raspberries at me, so I really hope I get a reaction like this in the future!

    • Carie 27/09/2015 at 2:57 pm

      Thank you – and your little man sounds adorable – I remember collecting the girls from nursery and they were really cross if I came too early because they’d have to leave their friends!

  • Hannah 27/09/2015 at 11:36 am

    I think I was with you on that train, beautiful writing. I am lucky enough to be a sahm, but our house never feels complete until the last person arrives home, its normally my hubby, and if we get chance we wait at the window or at the gate for him, so we are complete again. I love your little lady’s mustard cardigan, and your pictures beautiful xx

    • Carie 27/09/2015 at 2:57 pm

      thank you – we used to do that too when it was my turn to be the sahm while I was on mat leave – we’d all sit on the front lawn in the sunshine and wait for H!

  • LauraCYMFT 27/09/2015 at 5:23 pm

    Aww lovely post. It’s hard leaving them but it’s so nice to get such a warm reception when you get home.

    • Carie 28/09/2015 at 9:04 pm

      Isn’t it just – this evening they just about rugby tackled me to the floor – though that may have been the promise of the new wellies I brought for Kitty!

  • Katie @mummydaddyme 27/09/2015 at 8:44 pm

    Oh Carie this made me teary- what a beautiful beautiful piece of writing. I bet they all feel the exact same when they see Mummy too. It sounds like work is going well and I hope you have settled in nicely. x

    • Carie 28/09/2015 at 9:05 pm

      I hope so – and judging by the reception committee today I think they’re happy to have me home again 🙂

  • Donna 27/09/2015 at 10:56 pm

    That really is the best time of the day. I still love getting through the door after work and having T bound towards me 🙂 x

    • Carie 28/09/2015 at 9:14 pm

      It’s awesome isn’t it!

  • Cheryl 28/09/2015 at 2:09 am

    Beautiful description. I feel so much the same waiting for 5 and anxious to get home. I don’t have the train ride but instead have a 22 mile drive with (almost) daily traffic issues.

    • Carie 28/09/2015 at 9:15 pm

      Oh goodness – that’s harder, at least the trains are usually moving!!

  • The Gifted Gabber 28/09/2015 at 5:32 am

    I understand every feeling mentioned here. Lovely post. Being a working mom brings forth a gamut of emotions, doesn’t it? — Amy @ http://thegiftedgabber.com/

    • Carie 28/09/2015 at 9:16 pm

      It really does – it’s one of those situations where the only perfect solution is winning the lottery – which is a little unlikely!!

  • sustainablemum 28/09/2015 at 11:08 am

    What a beautiful post 🙂

    • Carie 28/09/2015 at 9:16 pm

      thank you 🙂

  • Preeti 28/09/2015 at 5:28 pm

    What a wonderful post! I work from home and so often I feel I’m in danger of letting my work creep into my evenings when my family is around. I have to force myself to step away and deal with it in the morning although, I’m not always successful!

    • Carie 28/09/2015 at 9:22 pm

      Oh that is hard – I work from home one day a week and I know I need to start really early in the morning so that I can be done to spend time with the kids – it would be so easy to just keep rolling!

  • Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely 28/09/2015 at 9:01 pm

    Carie, I am in tears!! What a beautiful post. The thought of being away from my boys for that long makes me short of breath. You’re doing so well but I can imagine how much you will that train to go a little bit faster to get you home. P.S. I love your new update in top right hand corner. It’s such a fantastic summary of you and your blog.

    • Carie 28/09/2015 at 9:24 pm

      Thank you – and yep, that’s pretty much how it feels – I am so glad I get to spend a day working from home each week, they aren’t with me but I can hear them bumbling around and I get so much more done for not wondering about them!

  • Not A Frumpy Mum 28/09/2015 at 10:17 pm

    Such a lovely post and I know exactly what you mean with that home-time feeling. When you’re busy at work you’re distracted but the minute you realise it’s home time you just want to be home, as quickly as possible. Lovely pics too. xx

    • Carie 29/09/2015 at 10:01 pm

      Exactly – if they ever make Chitty Chitty Bang Bang I’ll be first in line!

  • sally 05/11/2015 at 9:48 am

    Ahhh, lovely post, I hope it’s becoming easier but that you still get that wonderful welcome.