No, I’m not hailing you with a super polite greeting to my blog. I’m simply stating that’s that what it is now. Evening. And as such I am having the same dilemma that I am having at this time most day.
The dilemma is motivation. The three days a week I get to myself are just not enough in terms of writing time for me. I really only started writing again a year ago and I’m finding it’s a bit like Pringles. You know, once you pop…..
However there’s just no time in the day to think about anything other than being a parent and keeping the tide of mess and dirt at bay. There’s only evenings. But in the evenings, as much as I want to write; as much as I want to pick up the tattered shards of my ‘something other thasn a parent’ self and begin reforming them, I have this conflict. My brain wants to boot up the laptop but my body won’t oblige by removing itself from a prone position on the sofa. I want to read something interesting, get inspired; but the first thing that comes on TV when I switch it on (usually Baby TV) seems to have hypnotised me. My writing hand is itching but the message isn’t even making it to my elbow….
So tonight I’m writing just for peace of mind. Below is my guilt busting resource, written by me, for me. My own personal essential reading for a guilt free evening. However, I’m hoping it’ll work for some of you too… For sme of you it may just make you chuckle whilst, for others it may well resonate. I have included it so that youcan see just how overwhelming your day rally is when it’s written down like this. Make it as detailed as you like. You only have to do it once; maybe on one of your worse days…just for extra effect 🙂
However if you have done so much that your brain is mush and you couldn’t possibly bear the thought of taking the time to write it all down, the alternative format is quick and simple. Just open an excel spreadsheet, use a calculator to work out how many waking minutes there have been in your day (e.g. 6.20 am to 8.15 pm = 835 minutes), from the time you woke up to the time you want to stop and chill and then use copy and paste to make a list that spans that number in which the entry on each line simply says ‘lived up to my numerous responsibilities the best I could within the limits of the fact that I am human’. Then scroll up and down the mammoth list a few times, give yourself a pat on the back and grant yourself a well deserved break.
4am: Toddler wakes up screaming for milk. He doesn’t drink it preferring instead to go straight back to sleep the minute I get to the kitchen. Oh well, at least he’s sleeping……
6.20am: My 6 year old daughter comes into my room asking if she can get into bed with me. I say ‘yes but I’m still sleeping.’ She says ‘OK’ then gets into bed.
7am: I’ve answered 16 questions and refused daughter access to my mobile phone 12 times.
7.05am: Ask daughter to get dressed
7.06. Dress in the first clothes to hand. Rue the fact of not having washed own hair last night.
7.10 am: Make daughter breakfast
7.13 am. Put daughters clothes in clearer view, becasue she’s still not dressed then brush my teeth
7.15am: Ask daughter to get dressed again. Tell her her cornflakes are getting soggy
7.19am: Turn on son’s light and shout ‘Wakey wakey sleepy head’. He doesn’t stir despite waking up to a creaking floor board at 11.30 last night
7.20am: Ask daughter to get dressed again whilst repressing building frustration. Tell her if she’s not dressed in five minutes then she’s not taking a book in the car to school
7.21am. Take a deep breath and go downstairs and setup high chair and put porridge in the microwave for son. Notice cornflakes have absorbed all the milk
7.25. Find daughter sitting, half dressed in pyjamas reading a book with her knickers in her hand. Shout profusely whilst removing the offending book. Supervise dressing.
7.30am: Give son a shake and remove his blanket. Wait ten minutes for the tantrum to subside. In the meantime remove book that daughter has her hand as she is dithering on the stairs. Tell her her breakfast is on the bench. Head back upstairs to sort son out before hearing ‘mum can I have a drink’ from the kitchen.
7.31: Juice a fresh lemon , squirting myself in the eye, mix with water. Find the spoon with the pink handle. Watch fearfully as daughter insists on carrying both bowl and drink to her table on her own.
7.32am: Breath again as daughter reaches table safely then smile when son begins singing himself a nursery rhyme upstairs. It’s safe to go back up.
7.33-7.43am: wrestle son into a fresh nappy and clothes whilst he attempts to reach various toys out of arms reach. Someone once said they felt this job was like trying to keep an octopus in a net bag without any tentacles escaping. I think that would be easier….
7.45 come downstairs to find daughters breakfast untouched and yet another book in her hand. Remove book immediately and brusquely. Ignore whingeing about book.
7.46am: Spend 15 minutes coercing son into eating porridge and not using it as finger paint/hair gel. Fail miserably.
8.05 am: Notice time and panic. Ask daughter to stop reading and go and brush her teeth. Ignore whingeing . Clean porridge from sons hair/face/hands/clothes/highchair. Consider changing him. Decide the white marks aren’t really that noticeable…….
8.10 am: Shout upstairs to ask why the noise of daughters tooth brush can’t yet be heard. Hear the clatter of a book over the words ‘I’m just putting the toothpaste on’.
8.11 am: Scrape full bowl of porridge onto the bin. Check school bag and remember that daughters reading book hasn’t been touched in three days (paradoxical, isn’t it?…..)
8.15 am. Shout at daughter to come back downstairs. Her hair still looks like she’s a Russell Brand wannabe.
8.17 am: Brush daughters hair too quickly, causing knots to pull. Become evil mummy. Bite back the sentence beginning with ‘Well if you hadn’t….’ in the face of the subsequent whingeing. Also ignore fact that son has completely disembowelled a toy drawer all over the dining room floor.
8.30 am:. Attempt to get shoes and coats on all three of us whilst son tries to run off and daughter focusses half her effort on assisting you and half on the book in her hand. Get frustrated. Shout profusely. Ban book from the car. Evil mummy take 2.
8.35 am: Manouvre around children fighting to unlock the door. Exit house . Tell daughter to get in car. Load wriggling son into car seat. Battle against ironing board pose to strap him in. Look up to find daughter has gone back in the house (probably for the toilet). Wish you had a flask with coffee and whisky in it. Attempt to ease the steam leaking from your ears.
8.37am. Drive to school through streets that are too narrow for two way traffic. Find ‘secret’ parking spot has been usurped. Mumble curses under breath whilst fielding daughters questions about why someone has parked in ‘our’ space.
8.45 am. Unload children from car and attempt a quick walk to the school gates with on on hip. Fail miserably as he wriggles to be down with the strength of five men, slapping me in the face in his frustration. Put son down. Walk to school gates stopping to study leaves and jump in puddles on the way
8.48 am: Daughter whinges when you won’t walk her the extra 10 feet to the classroom door because son has wandered off in the opposite direction to investigate a fence. Tell her not to be so silly, kiss her on head, scoop up son and leave.
8.49 am: Look back as you’re leaving the school gates to see daughter staring after you looking sad. Feel guilty.
8.50 am: Now that you have two hands and some attention free hold son firmly and sing to him to distract him whilst replacing him in car seat. Drive to rhyme time.
9.30 am: Spend an hour singing nursery rhymes you don’t know the words to and trying to make conversation with 7 other mums whilst 10 under 5’s run riot with instruments. ‘Mind Tobys fingers’, ‘say please’,’no, you can’t have a second biscuit’, ‘give the other shaker to Darcy’, ‘sit still’……….. To be fair, we do have fun a rhyme time. My little man does like a good sing song….and he is cute doing the actions :).
10.30 am. Head home using promise of snacks to get son back into car.
10.45am. Spend hour and a half tidying rooms, doing dishes, hanging out washing whilst son intermittently plays nicely/whinges for attention.
12.00 Realise you forgot to give son his snack and he didn’t eat his breakfast so he wasn’t whinging for attention, he was whinging because he’s hungry. He’s now screaming blue murder. Attempt to make a healthy lunch while he hangs from your trouser legs.
12.15 – 1.00 pm: Enjoy a hot cup of tea and just watch whilst son eats half his lunch and makes a magic salad/spaghetti potion with the other half. Feel resigned as you watch him use the potion to decorate the floor. Offer him a yoghurt. Just for fun.
1 – 1.45 pm: Play ‘I’m going to put this tambourine up mummy’s top and pull it out through her polo neck until she finds something else fun for me to do’ with son. Desperately try to save polo neck top by engaging in lots of high energy silliness and running around. Succeed
2.30 pm: Feel ready to collapse with exhaustion. Son agrees and settls down for a two hour nap….only the school run happens an hour earlier than 4.30
3 pm: Fight overwhelmig urge to shut eyes and give into oblivion. Equally, fight rising anxiety at the thought of the tantrum that is about to ensue when you wake up the slumbering toddler.
3:02: Can’t possible leave it any longer. Take a deep breath…..
3.30pm: Arrive at school gates witb the grimly determined and slightly unhinged look of a pro wrestler. Son taking shuddering breaths having finally managed to calm himself down from his tantrum. Wonder how to plaster on a ‘I’m so glad it’s time for my other child to come home’ look on your face as you think everyone expects. Fail.
3.40pm – 4.15pm: Battle with guilt as you attempt to overcome your exhaustion enough to show genuine interest in what your daughter is telling you. Keep catching yourself not listening and wonder what’s wrong with you. Wonder anxiously if you are uwittingly leaving child 1 out becasue child 2 is so demanding.
4.30 pm. Attempt to make dinner whilst fielding incessant questions about ‘why we have to have thsat and what is for dessert’ from child 1 whilst ignoring the screams of child 2 who is, once again, starving (and, obviously, uable to wait the 20minutes it takes for food to be on the table).
5pm: Watch as childern reject said food outright whilst trying to come up with games that make the broccoli seem fun. Spoon feed toddler even though you know he’s perfectly capable (just unwilling) to do it for himself. Give up amd rely on dessert to fill them up.
5pm-6.30 pm: Attempt not to fall asleep whilst children are watching TV. This is fairly easy because you feel guilty about the fact the TV is on at all. Eye the book shelf moodily. Make coffee.
7pm; Bedtime battle commences. Finally lose the plot. Scream, shout, reduce all three household members to tears.
7,30pm: Make it up to them with an extra bedtime story, using all your will not to lose it again as they fight over turning the page.
8pm: Watch them sleeping and smile softly. Tell yourself it’s because they look sweet when they’re asleep.