Most Mum’s experience severe sleep deprivation at some point. That constant jet lagged feeling quickly becomes the norm and no matter how bloody exhausted you are, amazingly, you still function at life. I’ve lost count of the number of days I’ve gone to work after having only a couple of hours of sleep and still managed to do what I need to do (whether it’s of any good quality that’s open for debate!).
Whilst I was mentally high fiving myself for getting through another day on 3 hours of sleep, it got me thinking that Mum’s have a unique set of skills. What other jobs are out there that place value on you being able to fully function and be alert on such little sleep?
Well look no further I’ve found it……clearly the Special Air Services (SAS) should’ve been advertising their job specs on ‘Mumsnet.’
The emphasis for the SAS selection process is (I quote) on ‘endurance and long, dark hours undertaking solitary, arduous and often seemingly impossible or even pointless tasks’. Well if that isn’t motherhood in a big flashing neon light I don’t know what is! It's pretty obvious that my country needs me!
Apparently there are various phases to the SAS selection process:
'The Jungle Training phase - recruits are shipped to a location in Borneo. Here they undergo 6 weeks of strenuous training in the hot, humid environment of the jungle.'
I’m not being funny but why the hell do they need to go to Borneo? Clearly they haven’t been to a soft play centre during a half term. Borneo humidity has nothing on the sweat pit of soft play hell. I’d much rather take my chances wading through deadly swamps in the jungle than navigate through the snot and piss infested ball pit. Trying to squeeze yourself through spaces that were clearly not designed for adults, to rescue your crying child from the clutches of a 3ft Satan is no easy mission. Once the enemy is in sight your natural instinct is to absolutely kick the shit out of the snotty nosed Satan but bizarrely your amazing composure kicks in and you calmly remove yourself and your child from the situation without any casualties.
'The Fitness and Navigation phase. Candidates must complete a 40 mile hike called the ‘Long Drag’ in less than 20 hours’ during the hike, candidates must carry a 55 lb. pack, a rifle, food, and water.'
Oh please, I cover double that distance running after my two during the day. And have the elite of the elite tried carrying a wriggling child on one hip whilst holding a changing bag, multiple shopping bags and a handbag all whilst pushing a buggy? The changing bag itself weighs well over 55lb with the amount of crap you have to carry around and as for carrying food and water, I carry the equivalent of a monthly shop with me on a daily basis (just in case).
'The Escape and Evasion phase - recruits learn how to move stealthily, live off the land, and avoid capture by hostile forces.'
Mum’s invented the word ‘Stealth’. There is no one more ‘stealth’ than a mum trying to sneak out her kids bedroom after putting them to sleep. No night vision goggles needed here. We see perfectly in the dark and every mother could do the walk back to their own base (bed), blindfolded whist avoiding every creaky floorboard in the house with such agility that the English Ballet Company would be proud of such movement.
'Withstand Tactical Questioning tests - recruits are placed in a variety of physically and mentally uncomfortable positions for 24 hours. Candidates may also be deprived of food and water and forced to stay in painful, stress positions and subjected to loud noises.'
Physically and uncomfortable positions - Err one word….LABOUR!! Pretty obvious I know so I’ll offer another alternative. Have the SAS ever stood (whilst desperately needing a wee) and listened to a 4 year old tell a story? Believe me that story feels like it goes on for more than 24 hours and when you have no pelvic floor the complete control needed to stop you wetting yourself deserves a medal all on its own!
For the 'tactical questioning' I would like to put the elite SAS men in a room with my eldest whilst she asks them a million questions about their use of Sellotape (her new favourite thing) or sit them in with my youngest with the Peppa theme tune on loop. I’ll give them an hour before they crumble under the pressure and give up their secrets. If they are tougher to crack I’ll throw in a stiff as a board toddler who is refusing to move and see if they can restrain them – no easy task believe me!
Deprived of food and water? This is not a challenge it’s a regular week night for me. The amount of times I’ve sat down to eat my dinner or have a hot cup of coffee only for one of the girls to either fall over, wake up or have a meltdown. End result is a cold coffee and a dinner that you can’t eat as you finally sit back down at midnight and realise it really is too late to eat a madras curry!
So there you go, having completed my research it is clear to see that we are the Special Services. There is no doubt about it Mum’s are made of tough stuff and have a resilience that cannot be matched. It’s a thankless task that pushes us to our limits and when it gets bloody tough we dig in deeper and just get on with the job. We call on skills we never thought were in us and though there are plenty of times when you think you can’t carry on, you do and you live to fight another day.
Right I’m off to book a relaxing holiday. Anyone up for a bit of ‘me time’ in a Borneo jungle? I can put it on my credit card and you can pay me back?