Working Mum: A kindred spirit
By Tabitha Ronson
I had the strangest encounter at the weekend. I was travelling on the train taking Master A to stay with his grandparents when a woman seated opposite, started up a conversation with me.
At first I didn't know how to respond, simply nodding and smiling while she chatted.
Travelling daily on the Tube, I'm not used to conversing with my fellow travellers, instead choosing, like most Rat Racers, to ignore those around me with my eyes either fixed firmly on the floor or on my E-reader.
If you engage with other people on the Tube, you have to acknowledge their proximity, their habits, their smells, and a blanket denial is the best option.
In truth, I'm fairly suspicious of anyone who tries to engage me in conversation: chatty checkout assistants, ticket inspectors, office colleagues...
However, on this occasion after about 10 minutes of politely refraining from joining in the chat, I succumbed, lured by the woman's open friendliness.
For the next hour and a half, we chatted like two old friends.
She opened up about her life, me about mine. I worked it out that she must have been about 15 years older than me - and it really was like looking at fast-forward into the future me.
The more we spoke, the more we discovered our life paths were very similar.
She was a career woman who came to motherhood later in life (we were both the same age when we had our sons) and who became a single parent when her son was two. Ditto, my story.
She told me how over the years she had struggled without any support, how as a working mum she did everything to ensure her son had the best start in life. It was sounding all too familiar.
Her stop was approaching. As she got ready to disembark a handsome teen and his pretty girlfriend who had been sitting in the quad opposite joined her. "This is my son, Master A," she said, introducing me to him.
He smiled the same toothy grin as my own Master A's.
Working mum still pondering the meaning of coincidence.