Thursday, 27 February 2014
See part one of this post here.
So midday back from shops, toddler helps unpack shopping and remember mince not cooked for lunch. Find a soup in the freezer, pop in microwave. Must make spaghetti bolognese for toddler's dinner then freeze rest.
Toddler in front of Peppa while eating so clean kitchen from lunch and make a quick sandwich.
12.15 turn off tv, give toddler yoghurt.
12.30 think about putting toddler in pram to nap as tired and want to sit down but know this doesn't help bedtime routine and getting used to 'big girl bed'.
1.15pm toddler finally fell asleep in bed in her room after stories, singing and being held. Will need to wake her soon or will upset bedtime.
Blog, answer emails, other bits and pieces I want/need to do. Take 5 minutes on yoga mat for meditation.
2.15 wake a grumpy toddler who needed more sleep and change nappy, get coat on. Take an umbrella and bucket for collecting things and brave the weather. Walk through woods behind house down to beach. Toddler wants to touch everything and be held frequently. Oblige until I find something she'll want to see and she scrambles to get down. Chase her and run around playing catch to let her get some exercise.
3.15 home from walk. Give toddler snack and put kettle on/make toast. Clean kitchen. Toddler plays happily in room as I go over house tidying quickly.
3.20 papa home from an early shift. Plays with overexcited toddler. Make a start on toddler dinner with radio on. Breathe a little.
4pm clean bathrooms. Sit down in lounge with family and play with them.
5pm bathe Amelie while papa gets to sit down and relax a bit.
5pm set up dinner for toddler, papa feeds her.
Toddle runs riot around house expelling energy. Catch up on blogs/instagram, look up ways to help your baby self settle on phone.
6.30pm give toddler milk and read stories on sofa.
7pm papa takes toddler to bed.
Into kitchen to get our dinner ready, cook as papa settles toddler. POUR THE WINE.
8pm eat dinner
8.30pm papa clears some dinner things away, I put a wash on and sort out the clean washing.
9pm collapse on sofa.
10.30pm head to bed as likely to be up a few times in the night... before getting up and doing it all again.
So there you have it, a day in the life of a stay at home mama. Of course the days vary, sometimes we see other mums and toddler or go to play groups but that tends to be only an hour or so. And of course sometimes papa cooks and I do bedtime. And most nights she sleeps through so I'm not so tired in the day. But that is pretty much it.
Keeping emotions and thoughts out of the post has kept it shorter but I also didn't include them because I din't want it to sound whingy. Yes sometimes I feel exhuasted and long for a bit of time alone. But this is a choice, I could go to work if I wanted and I'm conscious of that. But ultimately it's the emotional side that makes looking after children hard work. They are relentless. Of course they are adorable too. But it's the way you have to have one ear cocked and one eye open even when they're quiet. Especially when they're quiet.
It's not so much the daily activities that are the work. Many people work as cleaners and cooks for instance, It's the fact you do it with a 3 ft high emotional time bomb with limited language skills and a propensity to make displeasure known. It's the fact you have so much love for said tiny timebomb that you want to do well. Home cooked food, limited tv, plenty of reading, etc etc.
It's all the emotions - the love, the fear, the exhaustion, the resentment, the joy - it's the emotions that make staying at home with your children what it is. It's like being tensely on guard ensuring needs are met and things run smoothly.
Show me a mother who isn't shattered and I'll show you her nanny, cleaner, and personal chef.
But the main reason for this post is to show those who wonder what it is that mothers do all day. Do you see hours of lying on the sofa watching daytime tv as I was once told being a stay at home mother involved? Do you see a child playing quietly while I go about what I want to do all day? No. The truth is you are at the beck and call of your child whatever age. They rarely at this age (nearly 2) play for long alone and you manage to cram what you need to do when you can. You are cook, cleaner, household sorter outer, tear wiper, bum wiper, shoulder to cry on and hand to hold. You are everything to your children and they copy by example so you try to be the best you possible. And you do this every day.
You witness the most wonderful moments being with your children all day but also the most irritating. Daily life is a jumble of highs and lows. It is like nothing else in the world and normally it is for a relatively short period of your life which makes it easy to both handle and cherish. Yet your days are misunderstood by all but those who live them too. They might have different routines and different ways of handling things but all mothers, especially those who stay home with their children know that the only response to the question of what you do all day? A wry shrug and little smile. Some things are best left unsaid.
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